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Novo to buy Cardior for $1.1b to expand cardiovascular segment

Novo Nordisk, one of the world’s most valuable companies, will acquire Germany-based Cardior Pharmaceuticals, a firm that specialises in heart diseases, for up to 1.03 billion euros ($1.1 billion).

HQ Team

March 25, 2024: Novo Nordisk, one of the world’s most valuable companies, will acquire Germany-based Cardior Pharmaceuticals, a firm that specialises in heart diseases, for up to 1.03 billion euros ($1.1 billion).

The agreement includes Cardior’s lead compound CDR132L, currently in phase 2 clinical development for the treatment of heart failure. The Hannover-headquartered firm specialises in RNA-based therapies to prevent, repair and reverse diseases of the heart.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of this year. The deal will not impact Novo Nordisk’s operating profit outlook for 2024 or the ongoing share buy-back programme. 

Novo Nordisk will fund the acquisition from financial reserves, according to a joint statement from Denmark’s Novo and Cardior.

‘Halt or partially reverse’

The deal includes an upfront payment and additional payments if certain development and commercial milestones are achieved.

“By welcoming Cardior as a part of Novo Nordisk, we will strengthen our pipeline of projects in cardiovascular disease where we already have ongoing programmes across all phases of clinical development,” said Martin Holst Lange, executive vice president for Development at Novo Nordisk.

“We have been impressed by the scientific work carried out by the Cardior team, especially on CDR132L, which has a distinctive mode of action and potential to become a first-in-class therapy designed to halt or partially reverse the course of disease for people living with heart failure.”

The acquisition is an important step forward in Novo Nordisk’s strategy to establish a presence in cardiovascular disease, according to the statement.

“Novo Nordisk aims to build a focused, impactful portfolio of therapies through internal and external innovation to address the significant unmet needs within cardiovascular disease, the most common cause of death globally.”

No cure

Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen. 

The condition leads to frequent hospitalisations, and more than half of people diagnosed with heart failure die within five years. Heart failure affects more than 65 million people globally and is most commonly caused by heart conditions such as ischaemic heart disease, cardiomyopathy or high blood pressure.

The condition cannot be cured. Current therapies can slow but not halt disease progression, and morbidity and mortality remain high.

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.

Cardiac hypertrophy

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 in 280 people with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction who have previously suffered a heart attack. The first patient was dosed in July 2022.

Novo Nordisk plans to initiate a second phase 2 trial that will investigate CDR132L in a chronic heart failure population with cardiac hypertrophy – a condition that causes the walls of the heart muscle to become thick and stiff, affecting the heart’s ability to pump blood.

“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 Cadior.

Novo Nordisk had a market cap of $583.87 billion as of March 2024, making it the world’s 13th most valuable company by market capitalisation or the value of a publicly listed company, according to Companies Market Cap.

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