- Orna Therapeutics, founded by MPM and its affiliate BioImpact Capital with funding from the UBS Oncology Impact Fund, announces USD 3.75 billion collaboration to develop the next generation of vaccines
- 100% of the USD 471 million raised for the fund came from UBS Global Wealth Management clients
- Transaction may revolutionize the way the biotech industry is able to treat infectious diseases and cancer
Cambridge, MA August 17, 2022 – UBS Global Wealth Management and BioImpact Capital, an affiliate of MPM Capital (“MPM”), announced that Orna Therapeutics (“Orna”), a biotechnology company founded by MPM and BioImpact Capital with funding from the UBS Oncology Impact Fund, has agreed to a landmark collaboration with one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies to create the next-generation of vaccines. The up to USD 3.75 billion collaboration will discover, develop and commercialize multiple programs, including vaccines and potential treatments in areas of infectious diseases and oncology.
Orna will receive USD 150 million cash from Merck, known as MSD outside the US and Canada, and up to an additional USD 3.5 billion in development, regulatory and sales milestones, as well as royalties on approved products. Merck will also invest USD 100 million in Orna’s USD 221 million Series B financing, which will value the company at over USD 1.5 billion.
Orna was created by MPM and BioImpact Capital in 2019 based on groundbreaking research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Orna’s collaboration with Merck is a notable success for the UBS Oncology Impact Fund and BioImpact Capital, the investment manager of the fund. The fund was created in 2016 as an impact initiative that invests in private and public companies developing innovative treatments for cancer and other serious illnesses. Clients of UBS Global Wealth Management contributed 100% of the fund’s capital, USD 471 million, as part of a groundbreaking series of impact investment products, which aim to generate a compelling return and positive societal impact.
“This collaboration marks a tremendous success for the biotech industry and for our clients that invested in the UBS Oncology Impact Fund,” said Iqbal Khan, Co-President Global Wealth Management and President EMEA at UBS. “This is a testament to what can be achieved when we bring together our clients’ wealth and a shared vision to drive greater impact in society. We’re truly connecting people to help create a better world and thank our clients for their commitment to this cause.”
Orna is pioneering a new generation of ribonucleic acid (“RNA”) strands, known as oRNA or circular RNA, to help revolutionize the way RNA sends instructions to cells to make specific proteins. Circular RNA has shown greater stability than conventional, linear RNA and has the potential to produce larger quantities of therapeutic protein inside the body, increasing the ability to treat infectious diseases, as well as cancer. The collaboration with Merck will allow Orna to scale this technology, which could provide significant potential benefits to millions of patients worldwide.
“We are proud to have built Orna with our team in our own offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts,” said Ansbert Gadicke, M.D., Chairman of the Board of Orna, Managing Partner of BioImpact Capital and MPM Managing Director. “We believe this is the largest transaction for a preclinical biotechnology company to date, which demonstrates the power of Orna’s platform. We are grateful to UBS and its clients and look forward to many more successes in the years ahead.”
The second Oncology Impact Fund was formed in 2020, which was 75% funded indirectly by UBS clients via a feeder fund. Together, the two funds have attracted over USD 1.3 billion in capital, making them among the largest biotech impact investment funds in history. A portion of the performance fees from both funds, and royalties from treatments developed by the funds’ start-up companies such as Orna, will be donated to the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to help fund grants for next-generation cancer research, and to the UBS Optimus Foundation to improve access to cancer care in the developing world.
Notes to Editors
About BioImpact Capital
BioImpact Capital is a leading biotech impact investment manager that leverages its extensive company creation and clinical development experience, as well as its deep research and intellectual property expertise, to create and invest in private and public companies through clinical proof of concept. BioImpact Capital is an affiliate of MPM Capital, which has shepherded more than 100 companies through IPOs and mergers and acquisitions. These companies in total have received FDA approval for 54 drugs. For more information visit www.bioimpactcapital.com.
About MPM Capital
MPM Capital is a prominent biotechnology investment firm with three decades of experience creating and investing in companies that seek to translate scientific innovations into cures for major diseases. MPM strives to power novel medical breakthroughs that transform patients’ lives. It invests across the biotech landscape with its early-stage venture capital funds, and with impact funds investing in both private and public equities through its affiliate, BioImpact Capital. For more information visit www.mpmcapital.com.
About Orna Therapeutics
Orna Therapeutics was founded on groundbreaking research by Alex Wesselhoeft, Ph.D., and Daniel G. Anderson, Ph.D., from MIT and built by MPM Capital and BioImpact Capital, an investment management affiliate of MPM. Orna’s proprietary circular RNA (oRNA) is engineered as linear RNA that self-circularizes. By taking a line and turning it into a circle, oRNA exhibits numerous advantages over traditional linear mRNA therapies such as simplified production, increased protein expression, and a superior immunogenicity profile. With proprietary lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), including those from Orna’s joint venture with ReNAgade Therapeutics, an RNA delivery company, our technologies expand the possibilities of what RNA therapeutics can achieve. To learn more visit: www.ornatx.com and follow Orna Therapeutics on Twitter and LinkedIn.
UBS convenes the global ecosystem for investing, where people and ideas are connected and opportunities brought to life, and provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as to private clients in Switzerland. UBS offers investment solutions, products, and impactful thought leadership, is the leading global wealth manager, provides large-scale and diversified asset management, focused investment banking capabilities, and personal and corporate banking services in Switzerland. The firm focuses on businesses that have a strong competitive position in their target markets, are capital efficient and have an attractive long-term structural growth or profitability outlook.
UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in more than 50 regions and locations, with about 30% of its employees working in the Americas, 30% in Switzerland, 19% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 21% in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs more than 72,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). For more information visit https://www.ubs.com.