Successful exit for HTGF: Novo Nordisk to acquire Cardior Pharmaceuticals

  • Novo Nordisk will acquire Cardior for up to 1.025 billion Euros in upfront and potential milestone payments.
  • Cardior is a leader in the discovery and development of therapies that target RNA as a means to prevent, repair and reverse diseases of the heart.
  • High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), one of Europe’s leading seed investors, participated in the first financing round in 2017.

Novo Nordisk and Cardior Pharmaceuticals today announced that Novo Nordisk has agreed to acquire Cardior for up to 1.025 billion Euros, including an upfront payment and additional payments if certain development and commercial milestones are achieved. As part of the deal, HTGF, one of Europe’s leading seed investors, will sell its shares.

The acquisition of Cardior by Novo Nordisk is the next billion-dollar total potential consideration in HTGF’s pharmaceutical portfolio and underscores its strong position in seed financing for life science companies. HTGF participated in the first financing round in 2017. At this early stage, HTGF believed in the team’s vision and the potential of RNA technology.

Cardior is a leader in the discovery and development of therapies that target RNA as a means to prevent, repair and reverse diseases of the heart. The company’s therapeutic approach targets distinctive non-coding RNAs as a platform for addressing root causes of cardiac dysfunctions with an aim to achieve lasting patient impact.

The agreement includes Cardior’s lead compound CDR132L, currently in phase 2 clinical development for the treatment of heart failure. CDR132L is designed to halt and partially reverse cellular pathology by selectively blocking abnormal levels of the microRNA molecule miR-132, potentially leading to long lasting improvement in heart function. In a phase 1b trial published in the European Heart Journal, CDR132L was reported to be safe and well tolerated and the results suggested cardiac functional improvements in people with heart failure compared to placebo. CDR132L is currently being investigated in the phase 2 trial HF-REVERT in 280 people with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) who have previously suffered a heart attack (myocardial infarction).

“This acquisition is a reflection of CDR132L’s transformative potential as a disease-modifying therapy for heart failure,” said Claudia Ulbrich, MD, CEO and co-founder of Cardior. “Novo Nordisk is the ideal partner based on its deep clinical and commercial expertise combined with its resources to accelerate our late-stage development programme, including through larger registrational studies. We look forward to advancing CDR132L towards market approval.”

Dr Frank Hensel, Principal at HTGF, comments: “Cardior’s success story shows that excellent research conducted in Germany is on an international level. This gives further momentum and visibility to the German biotech environment. We are thrilled to have Novo Nordisk as an excellent partner for Cardior and congratulate the whole team at Cardior on this great success.”

Dr Bernd Goergen, Partner at HTGF, adds: “Cardior’s development is a textbook case for start-ups: a disruptive therapy concept surrounded by experience, support, and a shared, bold vision of everyone involved. We at HTGF are happy to have been a part of it.”

The closing of the acquisition is subject to receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and other customary conditions and is expected to happen in the second quarter of 2024.

Co-founders of Cardior Pharmaceuticals: Claudia Ulbrich, MD. and Prof. Thomas Thum, MD., PhD. (Picture: Cardior Pharmaceuticals)

About High-Tech Gründerfonds  
The seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) finances tech start-ups with growth potential and has supported more than 700 start-ups since 2005. With the launch of its fourth fund, HTGF now has about 1.4 billion euros under management. Its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts support young companies with expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial tech, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. To date, external investors have injected about 5 billion euros of capital into the HTGF portfolio via more than 2,000 follow-on financing rounds. In addition, HTGF has already successfully sold shares in more than 180 companies.
Fund investors in this public-private partnership include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, KfW Capital and 45 companies from a wide range of industries.

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