The Woodford Patient Capital Trust delivered a positive return during April, with the largest contribution to performance coming from the unquoted part of the portfolio.
Ultrahaptics was revalued upwards following the successful completion of a further funding round which will provide additional capital needed to support the company’s global expansion and its entry into virtual and augmented reality markets. We are delighted with the progress that Ultrahaptics is demonstrating and remain very excited about its long-term prospects – as we said in the company spotlight in November last year, capturing just a small fraction of the potential that exists for the company’s innovative technology will result in substantial shareholder value being created.
Norwegian businesses Idex and Thin Film also performed well. Both companies announced incrementally positive news during the month. Idex announced that its flexible, off-chip fingerprint sensor technology will be featured in Mastercard’s next generation biometric card. Idex expects to start commercial deployment of its technology in this application later this year. This is a very positive development for the company as it puts it in a strong position to capitalise on the growing market opportunity for biometric cards and it further raises the profile of its innovative fingerprint technology. Meanwhile, Thin Film continued to build its network of partners that are interested in its technology. The company entered a collaboration with the Korean Red Cross to provide it’s near field communication SpeedTap tags (which enable instant product authentication). Thin Film’s disruptive technology will be used to verify delivery and receipt of relief items such as food, clothing and medication without the need for the highly inefficient paper-based process which is currently in place.
On a less positive note, shares in Allied Minds performed poorly, following the announcement of its decision to halt funding to seven subsidiaries. As we stated in the March update, we have built the investment case in Allied Minds around its more promising subsidiaries in which we have substantial confidence. These include Federated Wireless, Precision Biopsy, and SciFluor Life Sciences – we have co-invested directly in each of these businesses and several others, all of which are, in our view, significantly undervalued and offer tremendous growth potential. For example, the opportunity that lies ahead for Federated Wireless, which is developing a mobile telecommunications spectrum sharing technology, could justify a higher valuation than that of its parent on its own. We expect positive news from Allied Minds and the subsidiary companies it is now concentrating its attention towards, in the months ahead as it accelerates the process of commercialisation.
Shares in Vernalis also disappointed following the announcement of a delay in the approval process for its second cough-cold programme, CCP-07.
In terms of portfolio activity, we added to the position in Abzena through its equity offering during the month. Abzena licences its proprietary technologies and provides complementary services to biotechnology organisations around the world to support the development and manufacturing of better treatments for patients. The additional financial firepower will enable the company to further progress its development through investment in its facilities, equipment and personnel. Meanwhile, we participated in the latest funding rounds for Ultrahaptics and Atom Bank. There were no disposals during the month.