Novo Holdings announced the launch of an impact fund commissioned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation with a total budget of $165 million to invest in companies involved in discovering and early-stage development of therapies to combat antimicrobial resistance.
The fund will focus on priority pathogens as defined by the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a catalogue of 12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health. The fund is expected to invest $20 million to $40 million per year over 3–5 years in about 20 projects in Europe and the United States, which is anticipated to yield at least one new therapy reaching the market.
New approaches to combat antimicrobial resistance urgently need to be developed. Already, more than 700,000 people die each year from infections resistant to most or all antibiotics, and the number is increasing by the day. Antimicrobial resistance is projected to kill more people than cancer does by 2050, which would reduce global economic output by between 2% and 3.5% and severely cripple modern medical and surgical advances.
Despite growing recognition of this threat, there is an early-stage funding gap for new treatments, specifically from lead optimization up to Phase 1 data. Challenging commercial prospects and lack of clinical evidence create difficulty in attracting capital at this stage of development. Novo Holdings is uniquely positioned to meet this major unmet need. It has a long-term investment horizon, which means that it can pursue ambitious strategies to meet this challenge. It also has the capabilities to support the development of promising therapeutic options and a successful investment track record into eight anti-infective companies, including a portfolio company containing the world’s largest anti-infective discovery group.
Kasim Kutay, CEO of Novo Holdings, says: “We have established this impact fund to provide a fresh approach to a global healthcare challenge. With our scale, vision and capabilities, we are able to provide the essential strategic and financial support to these projects. This approach embodies our ethos to leave a positive and meaningful impact on health and society through our investments in life science. We are looking to increase investments of this type in the coming years, and we are excited about our potential to make a significant difference in improving global healthcare.”