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November 20, 2019  

Physician Prepping Healthcare Vehicle

An immunologist who swapped a career in medical research for finance 10 years ago will begin trading on Dec. 1 via his own hedge fund.

Ting Jia’s Octagon Investments fund is set to launch with as much as $300 million of day-one capital, a source said. Jia has hired Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan to clear trades. He plans to focus on the stocks of healthcare companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Jia began laying the groundwork for the fund when he formed New York-based Octagon Advisors last year. Before striking out on his own, he worked from 2015 to 2018 at Hillhouse Capital, heading the Hong Kong private equity shop’s New York office. Jia, a managing director at Hillhouse, primarily oversaw the firm’s investments in the life-sciences sector. He also sat on the boards of Viela Bio and Apellis Pharmaceuticals.

Prior to joining Hillhouse, Jia worked as an analyst from 2013 to 2015 at BVF Partners, which invests in small-cap biotechnology stocks. From 2009 to 2013, he was at McKinsey & Co.

Jia received his PhD in immunology from Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences in 2008. He was conducting post-doctoral research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center when he decided to make the switch to finance.

In his new role at Octagon, Jia is telling investors his medical background will help him identify companies whose products are underpinned by sound scientific research.

Despite a difficult fund-raising environment for hedge funds in general, investors continue to plow cash into healthcare-focused vehicles. San Francisco-based Woodline Partners, which invests in healthcare and technology companies, notched the year’s biggest launch in August with $2 billion. This month, Dallas hedge fund shop Avidity Partners started trading through a healthcare-targeted fund with $750 million.

More are in the pipeline. Former Bridger Capital staffers Marc Elia and Chris Taliercio formed M28 Capital of Greenwich, Conn., in October, with plans to launch a fund in the second half of 2020. And Sam Isaly, the former head of OrbiMed Advisors, began preparations in September to accept outside capital for two funds he’s been running with family money for more than a year.