The senior healthcare investing team at TPG has been together for more than a decade. It has experienced professional highs, personal tragedies, and everything in between during those ten years. Katherine Wood says that trust underpins the partnership culture at the organization.
“I have found that culture and investment style are closely tied, and culture can influence your investment style over time,” Wood explains. “Our culture enables an investment strategy that is very focused on partnership and growth.”
Wood’s healthcare experience runs incredibly deep. Her parents and family members were physicians. She was premed in college, did HIV outreach in South Africa, ran a free clinic, and gained experience in public health, academic medicine, and frontline care. But, Wood wanted to work in healthcare from a different perspective.
She joined TPG at the bottom of the 2009 market with the Affordable Care Act just on the horizon. “Even though I was a more junior member of the team, because I had some healthcare experience [current TPG President and Co-Managing Partner] Todd Sisitsky pulled me into a conference room, and for the next month we studied and planned around what might happen in the healthcare space with the transition to the ACA,” Wood remembers. “It was an incredible crash course, and I think truly emblematic of how we work here.”
She continues, “Our job is to unpack complex industry evolutions and to try and look around corners, but we do it together. From day one, I saw that this isn’t a top-down kind of place.”
One of Wood’s favorite ways to invest in the healthcare space is through carve-outs, where new businesses are created out of larger organizations. Wood points to a transaction from 2018 where she and the TPG team were able to successfully carve out Allogene from Pfizer.
“Allogene is a company that is developing a very exciting new class of cancer therapies, but inside of Pfizer, they were competing with thousands of other projects,” Wood explains. “We were able to spin this business out, recruit a management team, and establish a new company with people, resources, and capital dedicated to this sole focus.”
Today, with TPG’s investment, the company has invested over $700 million in research and development and brought four products into clinical trials. Pfizer, Wood notes, is one of the largest investors in Allogene. “They’re as proud as we are of what the company has become.”
This is what Wood loves most: unlocking possibilities that weren’t necessarily feasible before TPG came on the scene. “Think of the impact these therapies could have on the lives of cancer patients,” Wood says. “Building that trust with large corporations like Pfizer is an integral way of doing business here. We are always looking to find solutions that will benefit our partners and the companies we invest in.”