This article is an excerpt from Novo Seeds’ annual newsletter.
2020 posed immense challenges to the world as it battled against the COVID-19 pandemic. The life sciences sector has been front and center as we work at warp speed to develop new tests, vaccines and therapies.
Against this backdrop, we continued to deliver on our mission to identify disruptive technologies and enable entrepreneurs to build companies with the potential to significantly improve the health and welfare of people and society. We have had a very successful year with five investments and have seen substantial progress across the 25 biotech companies in the portfolio, with 12 drug candidates now in the clinic.
We invested in Rappta Therapeutics with Novartis Venture Fund and Advent Life Sciences, backing an international team developing a previously undruggable target, PP2A, potentially offering a new paradigm in oncology treatments. We launched a new portfolio company, Hemab, which combines antibody expertise from Genmab with biology from Novo Nordisk, to focus on the development of bispecific antibodies for the treatment of rare bleeding disorders.
On the bio-industrials front, Chromologics raised seed financing to produce sustainable natural colorants for a significant market with high consumer and industry demand.
As the first investor in Galecto, we were proud to see the company IPO on US NASDAQ raising USD 85 million to advance its promising GB0139 product candidate for the treatment of severe fibrotic lung diseases. This is an excellent example of how Novo Seeds develops breakthrough innovations, creating and building global biotech companies.
Strengthening the Nordic ecosystem
One of our key goals is to leverage and nurture the untapped innovation in the Nordic region. As part of our strategy, we have invested in venture funds with strong roots in the Nordics, a region that year after year is ranked as one of the most innovative areas in Europe. In addition to making profitable fund investments, we look forward to working with our regional partners to catalyze more Nordic innovation into viable startups, and therefore add long-term value to our ecosystem.
In addition to its own company creation efforts, Novo Seeds has invested directly in venture funds including in a new Nordic venture fund, Eir Ventures, and in the long-established Sunstone Life Science Ventures Fund IV. As well as generating returns for new investments, these synergetic partnerships serve to translate untapped Nordic innovations into viable startups for further investment, and hence gain access to an early-stage portfolio of potential new investment opportunities.
Søren Møller, Managing Partner at Novo Seeds: “Throughout 2020, our sector showed the reliance and creativity required to deliver new medical solutions. As the industry and the world face yet again unparalleled disruption, Novo Seeds is in a strong position to leverage and support the unprecedented innovation seen and untapped in the life sciences. Our team is focused on a common goal – to build on and enhance our position as a leading life sciences company builder. Our investment ethos, long-term vision, industry expertise and ‘hands-on’ approach give us access to the brightest minds in life sciences. We are exceptionally well positioned to identify world-class science and support entrepreneurs in translating their best ideas into life-transforming treatments for patients.”