Novo Nordisk to acquire Cardior Pharmaceuticals

Cardior has utilized basic research from the Max Planck Society to advance its proprietary technology and pipeline

March 25, 2024

Novo Nordisk has agreed to acquire Cardior Pharmaceuticals for up to 1.025 billion Euros, including an upfront payment and additional payments if certain development and commercial milestones are achieved. Cardior is a leader in the discovery and development of therapies that target RNA (Ribonucleic acid) as a means to prevent, repair and reverse diseases of the heart. The company’s therapeutic approach targets distinctive non-coding RNAs as a platform for addressing root causes of cardiac dysfunctions with an aim to achieve lasting patient impact. The agreement includes Cardior’s lead compound CDR132L, which is based on initial research from the Medical School Hannover (MHH) in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for biophysical chemistry in Göttingen (now Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences), amongst others. It is currently in phase 2 clinical development for the treatment of heart failure.

Cardior´s lead candidate CDR132L 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. 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.

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 HF-REVERT in 280 people with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) who have previously suffered a heart attack (myocardial infarction). The first patient was dosed in the HF-REVERT trial in July 2022.

“CDR132L has transformative potential as a disease-modifying therapy for heart failure and Novo Nordisk´s agreement to acquire Cardior is a testament to the technology we have built since inception,” said Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Thum, CSO, CMO and co-founder of Cardior. “In Novo Nordisk we have found the ideal partner with a broad clinical and commercial expertise and a growing cardiovascular disease portfolio that will enable us to further accelerate our late-stage development program through larger registrational studies and towards market approval.”

"We express our genuine delight about the recent acquisition agreement, a confirmation to the remarkable outcomes stemming from basic research conducted at the Medical School Hannover (MHH) and the Max Planck Society, especially at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry (now the MPI for Multidisciplinary Sciences). This acquisition underscores the pivotal role of solid basic research in the life sciences, providing a robust framework for transforming innovative concepts into tangible therapy concepts. In an arena where time and resources are critical, robust scientific findings significantly mitigate risks. We are delighted by the prospect that further research will bring significant benefits to heart patients worldwide”, says Dr. Florian Kirschenhofer, Senior Start-up & Portfolio Manager at Max Planck Innovation, the technology transfer organization of the Max Planck Society.

The closing of the acquisition is subject to receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and other customary conditions and is expected to happen in the second quarter of 2024.

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