The high profile but under-the-radar investment firm known as Altium Capital has already begun its journey of success. The firm was founded by Jacob Gottlieb. Gottlieb has a long history in investing and has already made an impact in investing in innovation with Altium Capital’s investment in the company called Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Jacob Gottlieb has a high profile in the world of investing. He was the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of the investment firm Visium Asset Management. After starting Visium in 2005, Gottlieb grew the company to an $8 billion hedge fund. Of the near 200 employees, Visium had a span of offices located in San Francisco, New York, and across the Atlantic in London. While many companies of the like operated under a “sink or swim” environment for their portfolio managers, Visium managed itself in a different way under the principles put in place by Jacob Gottlieb. A more hands-on approach of bringing on young talent and then nurturing them and supporting them to success was crucial in establishing a good work environment and thus the monumental success of Visium.
But a positive work environment can only go so far if a few fall short. This is what happened when three of Visium’s employees were accused of bad behavior. When Visium employee and whistleblower, Jason Thorell brought this to the attention of the FBI and SEC, the investment firm ended its successful era in 2016. After the Visum funds folded, Jacob Gottlieb was cleared of any legal wrongdoings. Throughout the destruction of Visium, Gottlieb maintained his position as CIO with no compensation and worked to return funds to investors while shutting down the company.
But this financial upset wouldn’t discourage him from continuing his work and creating a successor firm, Altium Capital. Altium is focusing on investing in innovative growth companies with a deep fundamental research process.
Already, Altium Capital has made a big step forward by investing in Oramed Pharmaceuticals with a 5.61% stake.
Gottlieb made the move last month in July among several other healthcare-focused institutional investors. After being founded in 2006, Oramed Pharmaceuticals has already changed the way medical treatments can be administered. Specifically through the form of pills instead of needle injections. Oramed’s most popular product is just that. An insulin capsule that can be taken orally in place of injection. This has changed the lives for many who suffer from diabetes.
This type of medical administration has not been available due to the inability of ingested insulin to remain viable. With Oramed’s technology, millions of more people who live with diabetes can be helped and for those who undergo various protein-based medical therapies who may be able to take injectible medications as a pill. The benefits are far-reaching. Not only is oral delivery easier for patients, but it reduces infection rates as well as the cost of treatment.
This medical advancement is already being supported by the Chinese market and will most likely soon be approved by the FDA in the US. In 2015, China-based Wuzhou Zhongheng Group (which includes Hong Kong and Macau) invested $52 million for a 10% stake and Oramed has already out-licensed its oral insulin capsule to Hefei Tianhui Incubator of Technologies. This has led to international attention and has landed Oramed in a position to completely change the way people have taken insulin for years. With such a bright future for Oramed, Gottlieb’s decision to invest in the pharmaceutical company can only be seen as strategic and wise.
The exciting prospects of Altium Capital’s first investment came after Jacob Gottlieb moved into an office space with Iguana Healthcare Partners. Here he will be sharing the space with his old boss and friend, Stuart Weisbrod. Before creating Iguana Healthcare, Weisbrod had co-founded an investment management company back in 1998 known as Merlin BioMed Group. With portfolios in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device, Merlin was focused on the healthcare sector.
After earning a PhD in Biochemistry from Princeton University in 1980, an MBA in Finance from Columbia University in 1986, and a BA in Chemistry from Colgate University in 1975, Weisbrod began his successful track record in healthcare and biotechnology investment. It was here at Merlin, where Weisbrod created a successful team of portfolio managers that included Jacob Gottlieb. Gottlieb would continue to help Weisrod land big clients as well as major pension funds, endowments, family offices, and high net worth individuals to accelerate Merlin BioMed during the height of the biotechnology revolution.
Now under the same roof again, Gottlieb and Weisbrod have the opportunity to collaborate in future works. During a Q&A with Gottlieb, he was asked about the prospect of working with Stuart Weisbrod, “We will see how things evolve. I think it’s clear that we all benefit from having smart people doing quality research and the possibility of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Also, companies like to come in since there is a lot of expertise and capital in healthcare under one roof.”
So what is the future of Altium? Jacob Gottlieb has bounced back and is doing what he does best. The strategic move of investing in Oramed has put Gottlieb’s new firm on the map. Oramed isn’t the only project. Altium has also taken interest in SELLAS Life Sciences Group, a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel cancer immunotherapies for a broad range of cancer indications. With these types of investments accompanied with sharing a work space with another titan of healthcare investing, Altium Capital is looking at a great opportunity to not only grow, but to prosper.