Leading European Biotech Developing Novel Antifungal for Life Threatening Infections
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Novo Ventures, the ventures arm of Novo Holdings, today announces that its portfolio company, F2G Ltd, a UK- and Austria-based biotech developing novel therapies for life-threatening systemic fungal infections, has secured US $60.8 million in new financing from new and existing investors. Naveed Siddiqi Partner at Novo Ventures, joins the F2G Board, replacing Martin Edwards who is retiring.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to fund F2G's late-stage clinical programs for Olorofim, its novel antifungal agent and organisational scale-up in preparation for commercialisation.
Olorofim is in a Phase 2b open-label study focussing on rare and resistant life-threatening invasive fungal infections, such as invasive aspergillosis (including azole-resistant strains), scedosporiosis, lomentosporiosis, fusariosis, scopulariopsosis, and coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever). Olorofim was granted Breakthrough Therapy designation (BTD) in November 2019 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the only antifungal agent ever to have been awarded this status based on early tolerability and efficacy data. Olorofim has the potential to be the first truly novel mechanism antifungal therapy for nearly twenty years and represents a very significant market opportunity in excess of US$6 billion, in an area of high unmet clinical need.
Commenting on the news, Naveed Siddiqi, Partner at Novo Ventures and Board Director at F2G, said: "I am excited to join F2G's Board of Directors for this next stage for the company. Invasive fungal infections in immunocompromised patients are a serious and growing problem that carry a very high morbidity and mortality risk. The infections are slow to eradicate, and treatment duration can last from several weeks to several months. The few available anti-fungal agents carry the burden of poor tolerability or efficacy, making organisms refractory or resistant to treatment. We are very encouraged by Olorofim's emerging profile as a novel first in class anti-fungal agent to address these unmet medical needs. As the largest shareholder in the company since 2018, we are pleased to support F2G's management team as they strive to bring this important new treatment rapidly to patients."
In 2019, Novo Ventures invested approximately USD 400 million in 55 companies. As one of the most active investors in Europe, Novo Ventures' investment strategy is to identify and invest in life science companies which are true leaders in their areas of expertise, developing innovative products that significantly advance patient care.
Ian Nicholson, CEO of F2G Ltd, said: "Following a successful year during which F2G has received FDA Breakthrough Therapy designation for Olorofim, as well as FDA Orphan Drug Designation for Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever), and QIDP designation in multiple fungal infections, today's announcement is a significant milestone. I would like to thank our new and existing investors for their continued support. This financing marks the continued commitment of our shareholders and paves the way for the advanced development and potential approval of the first new antifungal treatment in 20 years, offering hope for patients with very limited treatment options and a high medical need.
"We welcome Naveed Siddiqi who replaces Martin Edwards as the representative of Novo Holdings on the Board of Directors. On behalf of the Board we would like to thank Martin for his contribution to F2G. His industry expertise and counsel have been instrumental in guiding F2G through recent developmental and financing milestones, and we wish him the very best."
New global institutional investor Cowen Healthcare Investments joined the round. In addition to Novo Holdings, existing investors Morningside Ventures, Brace Pharma Capital and Advent Life Sciences also participated in the round.
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 and investment 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: http://www.novoholdings.dk
F2G is a world-leading UK- and Austria-based biotech company (F2G Ltd and F2G Biotech GmbH) focused on the discovery and development of novel therapies to treat life-threatening invasive fungal infections. F2G has discovered and developed a completely new class of antifungal agents called the orotomides. The orotomides target dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), a key enzyme in the de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway. This is a completely different mechanism from that of the currently marketed antifungal agents and gives the orotomides fungicidal activity against a broad range of rare and resistant fungal mould infections. Olorofim (formerly, F901318) is F2G's leading candidate from this class. www.f2g.com
Olorofim (formerly F901318) is currently being investigated in an open-label single-arm Phase 2b study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03583164) in patients with proven invasive fungal disease (IFD) or probable invasive aspergillosis (IA) with limited treatment options (refractory disease, resistance, or intolerance to available agents). On 7 November 2019, olorofim was granted Breakthrough Therapy designation (BTD) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the only antifungal agent ever to have been awarded this status.
SOURCE Novo Ventures