We are proud of the innovations and commercial successes of our portfolio companies. Following are a few of the firms in which WRF Capital has played an active role.
Alder Biopharmaceuticals, based in Bothell, WA, followed its 2014 initial public offering with clinical trials success in 2015.
Alder’s lead drug, ALD403, is a preventive treatment for chronic migraines. In Phase 2 trials, up to 41 percent of patients reported an end to their migraines, with a single dose providing effective treatment for up to six months. Phase 2b trials were also completed, and Phase 3 trials were initiated for further testing in 600 patients.
Clazakizumab (formerly ALD518), Alder’s treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, successfully completed Phase 2 trials during the year. Randall Schatzman, Alder’s CEO, told CNBC that in a head-to-head trial with bestselling drug HUMIRA, clazakizumab led to remission for more patients.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer described Alder as targeting “gigantic unmet needs” in the treatment of migraines and rheumatoid arthritis.
WRF Capital received one of the largest returns in its history through the sale of its shares in Alder and will use the proceeds to fund its grant programs and future local investments.
Redmond, Washington–based Pacific Bioscience Laboratories (PBL) produces the Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System, a range of devices that use sonic waves to enable users to achieve healthier, younger-looking skin. Launched in 2004, the products had exceeded $100M in annual sales within six years. Endorsements from celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake provided excellent publicity for the Clarisonic product line.
Pacific Bioscience was acquired by L’Oréal USA in 2011. PBL remains in Redmond and its management team has stayed intact. David Giuliani, PBL’s co-founder and CEO, was also the inventor and primary developer of the Sonicare toothbrush. Royal Philips Electronics purchased Sonicare’s manufacturer, Optiva, in 2000.
Farecast spawned from a 2003 research project led by University of Washington professor Oren Etzioni and financed by WRF Capital. With several of his students, Etzioni studied airfare price movements and applied data-mining and machine-learning techniques to assess their predictability. The resulting technology platform was the basis for Farecast, which empowered consumers to buy airline tickets at the cheapest time.
Farecast received seed funding from WRF Capital, among others, and recruited Hugh Crean as its CEO. The company expanded its range of products to include hotel rate predictors and trip-planning tools, winning several awards in the process. Farecast was acquired by Microsoft in 2008.
Acquired by EMD Millipore, the Life Science division of Merck KGaA, in August 2011
Acquired by Gilead Sciences, Inc. in August 2006
Acquired by eBay in September 2013
Acquired by Microsoft in April 2008
Initial Public Offering (LSE: HALO.L) in October 2010
Initial Public Offering (NASDAQ: HPTX) in July 2012
Assets and intellectual property were acquired by O.I. Corp. in December 2004
Initial Public Offering (NASDAQ: LMRA) in July 2004
Acquired by Microsoft in March 1999
Initial Public Offering (NASDAQ: OMER) in October 2009
Acquired by L’Oréal in December 2011
Acquired by MEDRAD, Inc., an affiliate of Bayer HealthCare, in August 2011
Acquired by Mercury Interactive in May 2003
Acquired by McGraw-Hill Education in April 2002