- Novo Holdings created and built Muna Therapeutics with pioneers in the field of neurodegeneration
- Led by an experienced management team of Entrepreneurs-in-Residence from Novo Seeds
- Financing co-led by Novo Holdings, Sofinnova Partners, Droia Ventures and LSP Dementia Fund, with participation from Polaris Partners, Polaris Innovation Fund, Sanofi Ventures, V-Bio Ventures and VIB
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, July 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Novo Holdings, a global life science investor, today announces that it has co-led the Series A financing of its portfolio company, Muna Therapeutics ("Muna"), which is pioneering the development of first-in-class small molecule therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases. The financing also includes Sofinnova Partners, Droia Ventures and LSP Dementia Fund with participation from Polaris Partners, Polaris Innovation Fund, Sanofi Ventures, V-Bio Ventures and VIB.
Muna was founded in 2020 by progranulin pathway thought leader Professor Simon Glerup and his team from Aarhus University, Denmark, in collaboration with Novo Seeds, the early-stage investment team of Novo Holdings. Muna emerged as a result of Novo Seeds' company creation efforts, where the Novo team and its Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EiRs) help build new biotech companies based on groundbreaking new science.
Muna joined forces with K5 Therapeutics, co-founded in 2020 by Professor Bart De Strooper from VIB-KU Leuven Belgium, a pioneer in neurodegenerative diseases research, with investors Droia Ventures and VIB. The combined company - Muna Therapeutics - will be based in Copenhagen and Leuven and is led by seasoned pharma executives CEO Rita Balice-Gordon and COO Anders Hinsby, both EiRs of Novo Seeds.
Neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of individuals, with increasing global impact as the population ages. Palliative treatments are scarce, and no curative therapies are currently available. Muna is focused on addressing the staggering unmet need experienced by patients around the world with neurodegenerative disorders.
Morten Graugaard Døssing, Chairman of the Board and Partner at Novo Holdings, said: "Novo Seeds is delighted to welcome a global syndicate of first-class investors who strongly believe in Muna's world-leading science, experienced leadership team, and its potential to develop innovative treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. We are honored to co-lead this round with Sofinnova Partners, Droia Ventures and LSP Dementia Fund – a tremendous joint effort to bring Muna to the next level."
Rita Balice-Gordon, Chief Executive Officer of Muna Therapeutics, said: "We are delighted for the support and backing from Novo Seeds and this world class investor syndicate. We are in an era of rapid advancement in understanding how to slow or stop the relentless progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Frontotemporal Dementia that devastate cognition and quality of life of patients as well as caregivers. Our team is committed to leveraging our collective expertise to deliver impactful disease modifying small molecule therapeutics to patients as rapidly as possible."
Søren Møller, Managing Partner at Novo Holdings, added: "Our investment ethos, long-term vision, industry expertise and 'hands-on' approach enables us to create flagship biotech companies like Muna and ensure all the elements for success are there from the start. We're proud to see Muna emerge with our renowned EiR team. This new financing cements our position as the leader in biotech company creation, but also demonstrates how we synergistically collaborate with international investors to build early-stage biotech companies. We look forward to continuing this exciting journey alongside Rita, the Muna team and our fellow investors."
Muna's innovative all-in-human target discovery and validation platform is based on proprietary insights into molecular pathways in different human brain cell types that underlie disease pathology and resilience to neurodegeneration, based on work from the De Strooper and Glerup laboratories. Muna has built a cutting-edge small molecule drug discovery engine that leverages high-resolution target structural approaches, AI-driven computational chemistry and cell-based screening.
The financing will be used to advance Muna's small molecule programs focused on repairing neuronal dysfunction, resolving neuroinflammation and restoring neuroprotection and resilience to disease to Investigational New Drug (IND) applications.
About Novo Holdings A/S
Novo Holdings A/S is a private limited liability company wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. It is the holding company of the Novo Group, comprising Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S, and is responsible for managing the Novo Nordisk Foundation's assets. Novo Holdings is recognized as a leading international life science investor, with a focus on creating long-term value. As a life science investor, Novo Holdings provides seed and venture capital to development-stage companies and takes significant ownership positions in growth and well-established companies. Novo Holdings also manages a broad portfolio of diversified financial assets. Further information: www.novoholdings.dk
About Muna Therapeutics
Muna Therapeutics is a private biopharmaceutical company founded in 2020 and based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Muna discovers and develops therapies that slow or stop devastating neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's, Frontotemporal Dementia and Parkinson's. These disorders impact memory, movement, language, behavior and personality resulting in disability and death of millions of patients around the globe. We focus our groundbreaking science on identifying new medicines to preserve cognition and other brain functions and enhance resilience to neurodegenerative diseases. Our name reflects this focus: Muna means 'to remember' in Old Norse. www.munatherapeutics.com
SOURCE Novo Seeds