From $1bn deals to Smart RNA – read our news roundup

AstraZeneca buys Novo Holdings portfolio company Amolyt in potential $1bn+ deal

Novo Holdings A/S and Sofinnova Partners, two leading life sciences investors, made headlines on Thursday when portfolio company Amolyt Pharma entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by AstraZeneca at a purchase price of US$800 million upfront and a potential milestone payment of US$250 million.

Based in Lyon, France and Boston, US, Amolyt’s lead asset eneboparatide (AZP-3601) is an investigational daily subcutaneous injectable parathyroid hormone receptor 1 (PTHR1) agonist for the treatment of hypoparathyroidism, that is currently in Phase 3.

Novo Holdings co-led the Series A financing in 2019 when eneboparatide was still at preclinical stage, and has continued to support the Company through its follow-on Series B and Series C investments. Sofinnova Partners co-led Amolyt’s last private financing round of $138 million in January 2023.


Strong Investment Portfolio performance

Novo Holdings also kicked off the week on Tuesday with some positive news, announcing strong financial results in 2023 from its Investment Portfolio.

Growth of the Novo Group companies drove total income and investment returns to DKK 31 billion (€4.2 billion) for 2023, up from DKK 3 billion (€0.4 billion) in 2022.


Novo Holdings Bioindustrial Team announced annual review and business update

Novo Holdings Bioindustrial Investments team on Friday published its review of 2023, which shows the team is now overseeing a dynamic portfolio of 23 companies.

Three new companies have been welcomed to the portfolio, solidifying Novo Holdings’ position as one of the world’s foremost investors in the sector.


Biocomposites announces approval of Stimulan in Brazil as an antibiotic carrier for treating bacterial infection

Biocomposites, an international medical devices company that engineers, manufactures and markets world leading products for use in infection management in bone and soft tissue, on Wednesday announced the approval in Brazil of Stimulan as a calcium matrix antibiotic carrier for use in wound healing and the treatment of bacterial infection.

Keele, Staffordshire, based Biocomposites noted that Brazil joins a growing list of more than 60 countries around the world where Stimulan is the only calcium matrix approved to carry antibiotics in bone and soft tissue.


Mission Therapeutics raises £25.2 million to progress clinical research into mitophagy

On Thursday, Mission Therapeutics a clinical-stage biotech developing first-in-class therapeutics that enhance mitophagy to promote cell/organ health, on Thursday said it has raised £25.2 million to progress the clinical development of its drug candidates.

Cambridge, UK-based Mission said the financing was jointly led by existing investors Pfizer Venture Investments, Sofinnova Partners, Roche Venture Fund, SR One, IP Group, and Rosetta Capital.

Mitophagy is the removal of dysfunctional mitochondria, promoting cell health and function. Mission’s lead product MTX325 is a potentially disease-modifying treatment for Parkinson’s Disease, with a Phase 1 clinical trial due to start imminently.


Asgard Therapeutics announces €30 million Series A financing to advance its first-in-class in vivo cell reprogramming platform for immuno-oncology

Asgard Therapeutics, a privately held biotech company pioneering in vivo direct cell reprogramming for cancer immunotherapy, followed this on Thursday by announcing a €30 million (£25.6 million) Series A financing.

The funds will be used to support development of Asgard’s lead program, the cancer gene therapy AT-108 to IND-readiness by 2026, expand and reinforce its research and development team, and fuel new reprogramming modalities and delivery platforms to strengthen the pipeline.

The round was co-led by RV Invest and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., with participation from existing investors Novo Holdings, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Industrifonden.


BII welcomes innovative smartRNA project to Bio Studio program

BioInnovation Institute (BII), an international non-profit foundation, incubating and accelerating world-class life science research, on Thursday announced that it has accepted a new project into its Bio Studio program.

The new project named smartRNA will develop a small RNA-based platform technology for treating monogenic diseases caused by reduced protein levels, primarily haploinsufficiency disorders, which constitute a significant unmet medical need.