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Andreas Halvorsen Plunges Into aTyr Pharma

Andreas Halvorsen (Trades, Portfolio), founder and chief investment officer of Viking Global Investors LP, disclosed this week he more than tripled the firm's stake in aTyr Pharma inc. (NASDAQ:LIFE).


Prior to founding the Greenwich, Connecticut-based hedge fund, Halvorsen worked as senior managing director and the director of equities at Julian Robertson (Trades, Portfolio)'s Tiger Management LLC. According to its website, Viking manages approximately $31 billion in capital and employs a research-intensive, long-term investment approach. The fund selects public and private equity securities using fundamental analysis, i.e., based on a thorough assessment of business models, quality of company management and analysis of cyclical and secular industry trends.

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Trade details

According to GuruFocus Real-Time Picks, a Premium feature, Halvorsen reported a holding of 816,728 shares as of Dec. 31, 2019, up 256.21% from the third-quarter 2019 holding of 229,283 shares.

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While shares traded around $4.17 on the Dec. 31 transaction date, shares of aTyr closed at $3.96 on Tuesday, approximately 5% below the transaction-date price.

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Company background

The San Diego-based biotech company discovers and develops innovative medicines based on novel immunological pathways. The company's primary drug, ATYR1923, focuses on deregulating the innate and adaptive immune response in inflammatory disease cases, aiding patients with interstitial lung diseases. aTyr entered in January a license with Kyorin Pharmaceutical Co., a subsidiary of Kyorin Holdings Inc. (TSE:4569), for the development and commercialization of ATYR1923 in Japan.

On Feb. 6, the company announced in a press release the pricing of an underwritten public offering of 4,235,294 shares of common stock at $4.25 per share.

Company financial strength position

According to GuruFocus, aTyr has approximately $2.77 in cash per $1 in debt, a ratio that underperforms 66.39% of global competitors. The company said in its January prospectus that as of September 2019, the company's term loans consisted of approximately $9.3 billion principal, due to be repaid ratably on a monthly basis until November 2020. Additionally, the company has a $1.8 million payment due in the fourth quarter of 2020.

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See also

Jim Simons (Trades, Portfolio)' Renaissance Technologies also has a holding in aTyr.

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GuruFocus Real-Time Picks listed several other trades for Halvorsen, including reductions in Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA) and Chewy Inc. (NYSE:CHWY).

Disclosure: No positions.

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This article first appeared on GuruFocus.