Novo Holdings looks to boost life sciences investments

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Novo Nodisk's venture capital arm is focusing on biotechs in the U.S. and Europe. (

Novo Holdings says it is looking to fuel more early- and late-stage biotechs. The venture capital firm said that, over the next few years, it is plotting to “increase its investments in life science companies at all stages of development: from seed companies in the early phases to well-established, cash-generative companies,” with a focus on those in the U.S. and Europe.

“We see a long-term positive trend for the life science industry and expect to continue increasing our investments in the coming years. The positive returns from our portfolio of life science investments and several successful exits and IPOs in recent years reinforce our optimism,” said Kasim Kutay, the firm’s CEO.

The data come from its annual review (PDF) posted this morning.

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Looking at the balance sheet, Novo Holdings saw income and investment returns of DKK 20.7 billion ($3.5 billion) last year, with the return from life science investments outside the Novo Group providing more than half the profit.

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It made new investments in the sector worth DKK 13.9 billion in 2017, with the investments in German companies Evotec and Synlab, as well as in British company ConvaTec, accounting for just over DKK 11 billion of the new investment total. On the venture front, Novo Holdings invested in 12 new companies and exited 14 others.

“We executed in accordance with our strategy and invested with a long-term perspective. We are satisfied with the result, and our return on life science investments now stands at 21% for the past five years and 18% over 10-years on an annual basis,” says Kutay.

The firm is the holding company in the Novo Group, comprising of biopharma Novo Nordisk, as well as Novozymes and NNIT, and is responsible for managing the Foundation’s assets.