Novo Ventures

Novo Ventures

Dollars: $55.75 million
Deals: 13
Based: Hellerup, Denmark
Website: novo.dk/ventures
Founded: 2000

Like other corporate venture arms, Novo Ventures occasionally likes to seed new companies with its cash. While not nearly as active as the Big 5, you can find Novo Ventures working on both sides of the Atlantic. And the venture partners are not shy about getting involved at an early stage with both new drug developers as well as medical devices.

Just last December, Novo's venture group backed former GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) investigators looking to spin out a new biotech planning to develop neurosciences technology. Dr. Emiliangelo Ratti and Dr. Mike Trower gained the rights to a portfolio of clinical and preclinical neurokinin receptor antagonists divested from GSK for the newly established NeRRe Therapeutics in London. Novo led the $32 million A round for Allakos Therapeutics, which is developing antibodies for allergic and inflammatory diseases. And Novo kicked off the last month of the year with its contribution to a B round for Flexion, a U.S. biotech operated by Eli Lilly ($LLY) vets who are developing new osteoarthritis therapies.

The venture arm backed Alder BioPharmaceuticals' new work on a migraine therapy. And Novo led a $30 million round for Elevation Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Sunovion later in 2012.

Novo Ventures often likes to work with other corporate venture groups. The group tied up with Novartis Venture Funds to back Thesan, a new company working with dermatology tech developed at UC Irvine. On the devices side, Novo backed Nevro, a 2012 Fierce 15 company, which rounded up $48 million in venture financing. And they came in with a blue-chip group of investors, including New Enterprise Associates and Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ). Nevro said the cash is being earmarked for its pain-management implant.

Novo tends to be a hands-on partner. The company says it likes to get directly engaged not only on the board, but on the science side as well, ready to roll up its sleeves and help on the clinical end of things. Novo Nordisk ($NVO) has a big and successful R&D operation. And while the company likes to point out that there's a wall that separates its corporate work from the venture group, it's not made of steel.

For more:
Ex-GSK scientists grab $18M, neurosciences portfolio for startup
Novo, Novartis back dermatology startup with $16M A round

-- John Carroll (email | Twitter)

Novo Ventures
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