Even in the volatile world of biotech, Baker Bros. Advisors has notched some extraordinary returns in the past two weeks.

On October 21, Seattle Genetics Inc. added $2.1 billion to its market capitalization after a study showed one of its therapies slowed the spread of breast cancer, including for patients whose disease had metastasized to the brain. Then on Friday in Hong Kong, BeiGene Ltd. gained 32% after Amgen Inc. said it would take a $2.7 billion minority stake in the Chinese-American drug developer.

For the Baker Bros. -- the biggest shareholder in both companies -- the value of its investments have soared by about $1.4 billion. Its stake in Seattle Genetics is up $1 billion since news of the study broke while the firm’s BeiGene holding is up more than $400 million in early trading Friday.

For Julian and Felix, the discreet brothers behind the eponymous hedge fund firm, outsized returns have become almost routine, making a fortune for their investors, including Yale University’s endowment and the Tisch family.

Fabulously Wealthy
It has also made the siblings fabulously wealthy, with a combined fortune of at least $3.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The duo has built a $17 billion investment firm -- a giant by biotech standards -- yet remain little known outside the pharmaceutical world. They’ve become power players by taking board seats on promising biotechnology companies and combining deep pockets with a remarkably long investing horizon.

The money manager first invested in Seattle Genetics more than 15 years ago when the company was barely breaking even and had no drugs on the market. Felix became lead director in 2005 and over time Baker Bros. added to its stake. The position is now worth more than $5 billion, their largest public holding.

Their position in BeiGene is now worth $2.1 billion and was its third-largest public holding as of June 30. Baker Bros.’s Ronny Krishana sits on the board.

Those who’ve rubbed elbows with the firm say it focuses as much on the science as the money.

Well Prepared
“You come out of your first meeting with them, you go ‘wow’ and you’re drenched in sweat,” said Edwin Moses, the former chief executive officer of Ablynx NV, which received an investment from Baker Bros. in 2017. “Not every investor is so well-prepared.”

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