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Novo Nordisk has agreed to acquire Ascenion’s portfolio company Cardior Pharmaceuticals for up to EUR 1.025 billion including an upfront payment and additional payments if certain development and commercial milestones are achieved.

Cardior’s innovative approach is based on ground-breaking research of Prof. Thomas Thum and his team at Hannover Medical School (MHH) who discovered the potential of non-coding RNAs as molecular targets for the treatment of heart disease. The lead compound CDR132L, an antisense oligonucleotide blocker, inhibits a distinct non-coding RNA in the heart muscle that plays a pivotal role in key disease pathways. The candidate is currently in a Phase II clinical trial. In Phase I studies, CDR132L was reported to be safe and well tolerated and the results suggested cardiac functional improvements in people with heart failure compared to placebo1.

‘If successful, CDR132L could become the first oligonucleotide-based RNA treatment in the field of cardiovascular disease and the first one to address root causes of cardiac dysfunction,’ says Christian Stein, CEO of Ascenion, MHH’s technology transfer partner. ‘This would be an important step for patients and physicians who have long been waiting for innovations in the field.’

From the very beginning, Ascenion has worked closely with the scientists to secure patent protection, support technology transfer into the company and assist the team in navigating the process of company foundation.

‘Developing a completely novel therapeutic approach for cardiovascular diseases from ideation to clinical stage together with a tremendous team has been very rewarding. I am grateful to Ascenion for their crucial support in the early days and their ongoing partnership,’ comments Thomas Thum, Chief Scientific and Chief Medical Officer of Cardior. ‘With Novo Nordisk we have found the ideal partner with a broad clinical and commercial expertise and a growing cardiovascular disease portfolio that will enable us to further accelerate our late-stage development program through larger registrational studies and towards market approval.’

‘The present agreement of Cardior with Novo Nordisk underlines the successful research by Prof. Thomas Thum and his team and also highlights our focus on translational research at Hannover Medical School where clinical and research foci match,’ says MHH President Prof. Michael P. Manns.

Ascenion currently holds shares in Cardior. The majority of future proceeds from the sale of these shares will go to the LifeScience Foundation, which will make the funds available for research projects at MHH and other endowing institutes.

About Cardior

Cardior Pharmaceuticals is a leading clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering the discovery and development of RNA-based therapeutics designed to prevent, repair and reverse diseases of the heart. Cardior’s therapeutic approach uses distinctive non-coding RNAs as an innovative platform for addressing the root causes of cardiac dysfunctions. The company aspires to bring transformative therapeutics and diagnostics to patients and thereby make a lasting impact on the treatment of cardiac diseases worldwide.

Further information: cardior.de

About Ascenion

Ascenion is an independent technology transfer company focusing on the life sciences. It is partner to more than 40 research organizations, universities and university hospitals in Germany and Europe, including life-science institutes of the Helmholtz and Leibniz Associations, the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Hannover Medical School, the Medical University of Innsbruck, and the University Medical Center Göttingen. Ascenion’s multidisciplinary, industry-experienced team works closely with its partners to tap the potential of their research by identifying promising results, obtaining patent protection, and turning pure science into applied technology. Particular strengths are spin-off support and project development, where early-stage projects are transformed into assets that attract potential investors and licensees. This has led to the founding of numerous new companies and the transfer of innovative medical approaches into approved drugs, changing the lives of thousands of patients. In 2022 Ascenion initiated the CARMA FUND which invests in early-stage projects and start-ups in the life-science and healthcare sector.

Profits from Ascenion’s operative business and exit proceeds flow via its parent company, the LifeScience Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Research, to fund further translational research at its partner institutes.

Further information: www.ascenion.de

About Hannover Medical School (MHH)

Hannover Medical School is a maximum care hospital with a nationwide catchment area, as well as a university institution of the state of Lower Saxony focusing on medicine and the life sciences. In addition to providing patient care and pursuing its own research and teaching activities, the MHH also enjoys extensive cooperations with public research institutes and companies, with an emphasis on application-oriented biomedical research.

Further information: www.mhh.de

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