Possible billion-euro deal: Novo Nordisk wants to acquire MHH spin-off


Cardior Pharmaceuticals is developing a drug for the treatment of heart failure. The Danish pharmaceutical group Novo Nordisk is planning to acquire the start-up, which was founded in 2016, for a potential price of 1.025 billion euros.

Karin Kaiser/MHH

Prof Dr Dr Thomas Thum with a heart model.

Cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of death worldwide. Cardior Pharmaceuticals, a spin-off from Hannover Medical School (MHH), is pursuing an innovative approach to the treatment of heart disease and has developed a drug for the treatment of heart failure, which is currently being tested in a phase II clinical trial. The Danish pharmaceutical group Novo Nordisk intends to acquire Cardior for up to 1.025 billion euros. The purchase price includes an upfront payment and possible additional payments if certain development and commercial milestones are reached.

Cardior's new approach is based on the pioneering research of Prof Dr Dr Thomas Thum, Head of the MHH Institute for Molecular and Translational Therapeutic Strategies and CEO of Cardior, who discovered the potential of non-coding RNAs (ncRNA) as a target in the treatment of heart disease. "Developing a completely novel therapeutic approach for cardiovascular disease from idea to clinical phase together with a great team has been very rewarding," says Professor Thum. "In Novo Nordisk, we have found the ideal partner with broad clinical and commercial expertise and a growing portfolio of cardiovascular disease product candidates that will enable us to further accelerate our late-stage development programme through larger pivotal trials and towards market approval."

Cardior's lead product CDR132L is the first ncRNA-based therapy to be used in Phase II trials in heart disease. It is an antisense oligonucleotide blocker that inhibits a specific non-coding RNA in the heart muscle that plays a central role in key disease pathways. In Phase I trials, CDR132L was shown to be safe and well tolerated, and the results indicated an improvement in heart function in people with heart failure.

"Cardior's agreement with Novo Nordisk underlines the successful research of Professor Thomas Thum and his team and also highlights our focus on translational research at Hannover Medical School," says MHH President Professor Michael Manns. "Cardior's therapeutic approach could change the lives of millions of patients."

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