Roivant Sciences, the biotech group backed by SoftBank’s vision fund, said it would invest $116.4m in a company developing treatments for hepatitis-B.

Roivant is investing in Arbutus Biopharma via convertible preferred shares — a hybrid of debt and equity that allows the company to change its investment into common stock at a later date.

Shares in Arbutus, which has a market capitalisation of $341m, rose almost 13 per cent in pre-market trading.

Vivek Ramaswamy, chief executive of Roivant, is also chairman at Arbutus.

He said: “I am pleased with the progress that Arbutus has made over the past two years, but I believe that the company’s most exciting days are ahead of it. HBV is one of the most devastating diseases impacting patients globally, and a cure remains elusive.”

The announcement comes after Axovant, a spin-off of Roivant, announced its Alzheimer’s medicine had flopped in a late-stage trial, sparking a sharp sell-off of its shares.

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