Dealflow | January 22, 2019

Novo’s REPAIR Impact Fund backs three companies tackling antibiotic resistance

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, January 21 – The holding company of Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk has made three investments through its $165 million fund to combat antibiotic resistance.

A number of serious bacterial infections are becoming increasingly resistant to current antibiotic treatments—an issue that is projected to cause more deaths than cancer by 2050. The World Health Organization calls antibiotic resistance “one of the biggest threats to global public health.”

The Novo Nordisk Foundation launched the REPAIR Impact Fund last year to invest in U.S. and European startups and corporate spin-offs developing new drugs and therapies for WHO-priority infections, like pneumonia, tuberculosis, and blood poisoning. It’s most recent investments include: 

  • €3.6 million ($4.1 million) for MinervaX, a Danish company developing a vaccine against Group B Streptococcus. Group B Streptococcus, or GBS, is responsible for 50% of life-threatening infections in newborns, according to a MinervaX statement. “The wide spread use of [current treatments] in birthing women has led to an increase in antibiotic resistance amongst other bacterial;”
  • €1.5 million ($1.7 million) for U.K.-based Procarta Biosystems, which is developing a treatment for complicated urinary tract infections and intra-abdominal infections; and
  • $10 million in Boston-based Entasis Therapeutics, whose treatments are targeting infections from Pseudomonsas aeruginosa bacterial strains, which are most commonly contracted in healthcare settings.

REPAIR, which stands for Replenishing and Enabling the Pipeline for Anti-Infective Resistance, previously backed Polyphor, a company developing treatments for so-called Gram-negative pathogens, which cause bloodstream infections and pneumonia. The fund has committed roughly $20.5 million to date, and is looking to invest in 20 projects in total over the next three-to-five years.

A partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Wellcome Trust, a U.K.-based biomedical-research charity, has pledged to invest $350 million to similar initiatives over the same period.