Novo’s $1.1B Cardior Buy Continues Expansion into Heart Disease

Novo Nordisk_iStock, hapabapa

Pictured: Novo Nordisk's office in California/iStock, hapabapa

Novo Nordisk on Monday announced that it will acquire German biotech Cardior Pharmaceuticals in a bid to boost its cardiovascular disease portfolio and support the pharma’s expansion into heart conditions.

The companies did not reveal what per-share price they settled on but said that the deal has a total value of up to approximately $1.1 billion. The sum includes Novo’s upfront payment for Cardior as well as additional payments, which depend on certain developmental and commercial milestones.

Novo and Cardior expect to close the transaction in the second quarter of 2024, contingent on regulatory and anti-trust clearances and other customary closing conditions.

Martin Holst Lange, executive vice president for development at Novo Nordisk, in a statement said that the Cardior acquisition will help the Danish pharma “strengthen our pipeline of projects in cardiovascular disease.” The buyout will also contribute towards Novo’s goal of building a “focused, impactful portfolio of therapies through internal and external innovation,” according to the announcement.

At the core of the acquisition is Cardior’s lead candidate CDR132L, which according to the biotech’s website is an oligonucleotide-based inhibitor that targets and inhibits miRNA132. This mechanism of action stops and reverses detrimental cardiac remodeling and restores normal heart cell functions, while improving systolic and diastolic functions.

In July 2022, Cardior launched the Phase II HF-REVERT trial assessing CDR132L in patients with reduced left ventricular ejection fraction after myocardial infarction.

Lange in a statement said that Novo is “impressed” by Cardior’s work on CDR132L, “which has a distinctive mode of action and potential to become a first-in-class therapy” that could “halt or partially reverse the course of disease” in patients with heart failure.

Novo plans to run a second Phase II study for CDR132L, testing the investigational therapy in chronic heart failure patients with thickened heart muscles, which impair the heart’s ability to pump blood.

The Cardior acquisition comes weeks after Novo successfully pushed its top-selling obesity therapy Wegovy (semaglutide) into cardiovascular disease. Earlier this month, the FDA signed off on a label expansion for the GLP-1 receptor agonist, allowing its use to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack and stroke in adults with underlying cardiovascular disease, and in those who are overweight or obese.

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that it would cover the use of Wegovy for its cardiovascular indications. The agency still does not cover Wegovy for chronic weight management.

For Cardior, the Novo acquisition follows its $76 million Series B funding round in August 2021, which the company has since used to support the development of CDR132L, as well as its other candidates—all of which target cardiovascular indications. Bristol Myers Squibb, alongside other investors including BioMed Partners and Inkef Capital, participated in the Series B.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. Reach out to him on LinkedIn or email him at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.

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