NOVO SEEDS | In 2017, Novo Seeds celebrated its 10th anniversary. It added four companies to the portfolio, had several companies reach clinical stage development and carried out its first IPO. Investment activity across the portfolio underscores Novo Seeds’ ability to transform biological insights into successful biotech startups.
“2017 was a good year. We continued to play a key role in developing the Nordic life science industry. We built four companies and invested significant capital in our portfolio companies on their paths to developing new drugs,” says Søren Møller, Managing Partner, Novo Seeds.
The new investments saw the value of the 21 companies in Novo Seeds’ portfolio increase by 50%, and external investors accounted for three quarters of the investment in each portfolio company.
“New drugs take a long time to develop, and our typical investment horizon is 6-8 years. That makes it encouraging to see that co-investors have strong appetite for the companies and invest significantly alongside us in developing their programmes,” says Søren Møller.
Several portfolio companies made significant progress during the year, entering clinical stage development or announcing the achievement of key milestones.
Novo Seeds analyses more than 300 investment opportunities during a year and established four new companies in 2017: two in Denmark, Antag Therapeutics and Dermtreat; NorthSea Therapeutics in the Netherlands; and Syndesi Therapeutics in Belgium.
Dermtreat completed a USD 18 million series, with Novo Seeds as investor and Sofinnova Ventures participating as the lead investor in the round. This validates the commercial attractiveness, with a key United States investor acting as the lead investor in an early-stage Nordic financing round. Antag Therapeutics, incubated through a pre-seed programme, was launched with DKK 20 million of financing exclusively from Novo Seeds. NorthSea Therapeutics and Syndesi Therapeutics are spin-offs from pharmaceutical companies and funded through to clinical proof of concept by a strong investor syndicate.
Researchers choose startups
“Investing in four new companies in one year is aligned with our strategy. We invest DKK 250 million in our portfolio annually, and this underscores our strong commitment to build biotech start-ups, primarily in the Nordics,” says Søren Møller, who sees the sector develop positively.
“Talented and ambitious researchers are clearly choosing the start-up environment. This is clearly reflected in projects of high quality that are presented to us.”
In 2017, Novo Seeds carried out its first IPO for gene therapy company Lysogene, thereby expanding the commercial paths for its portfolio companies.
Novo Seeds also celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2017. During the 10 years, Novo Seeds has grown its investment mandate and capabilities significantly, and Novo Seeds is now the premier early stage life science investor in the Nordics, having built a portfolio of 21 companies, each addressing significant unmet medical need with innovative new therapies.
At the end of 2017, Novo Seeds had a total book value of DKK 488m, a 50% increase compared with 1 January 2017 (DKK 291m).