Novo Holdings launches Muna Therapeutics with USD73m in Series A ending
Novo Holdings, a global life science investor, has co-led the Series A financing of its portfolio company, Muna Therapeutics (Muna), which is pioneering the development of first-in-class small molecule therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases.
The financing also includes Sofinnova Partners, Droia Ventures and LSP Dementia Fund with participation from Polaris Partners, Polaris Innovation Fund, Sanofi Ventures, V-Bio Ventures and VIB.
Muna was founded in 2020 by progranulin pathway thought leader Professor Simon Glerup and his team from Aarhus University, Denmark, in collaboration with Novo Seeds, the early-stage investment team of Novo Holdings. Muna emerged as a result of Novo Seeds’ company creation efforts, where the Novo team and its Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EiRs) help build new biotech companies based on groundbreaking new science.
Muna joined forces with K5 Therapeutics, co-founded in 2020 by Professor Bart De Strooper from VIB-KU Leuven Belgium, a pioneer in neurodegenerative diseases research, with investors Droia Ventures and VIB. The combined company – Muna Therapeutics – will be based in Copenhagen and Leuven and is led by seasoned pharma executives CEO Rita Balice-Gordon and COO Anders Hinsby, both EiRs of Novo Seeds.
Neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of individuals, with increasing global impact as the population ages. Palliative treatments are scarce, and no curative therapies are currently available. Muna is focused on addressing the staggering unmet need experienced by patients around the world with neurodegenerative disorders.
Morten Graugaard Døssing, Chairman of the Board and Partner at Novo Holdings, says: “Novo Seeds is delighted to welcome a global syndicate of first-class investors who strongly believe in Muna’s world-leading science, experienced leadership team, and its potential to develop innovative treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. We are honored to co-lead this round with Sofinnova Partners, Droia Ventures and LSP Dementia Fund – a tremendous joint effort to bring Muna to the next level.”
Rita Balice-Gordon, Chief Executive Officer of Muna Therapeutics, says: “We are delighted for the support and backing from Novo Seeds and this world class investor syndicate. We are in an era of rapid advancement in understanding how to slow or stop the relentless progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Frontotemporal Dementia that devastate cognition and quality of life of patients as well as caregivers. Our team is committed to leveraging our collective expertise to deliver impactful disease modifying small molecule therapeutics to patients as rapidly as possible.”
Søren Møller, Managing Partner at Novo Holdings, adds: “Our investment ethos, long-term vision, industry expertise and ‘hands-on’ approach enables us to create flagship biotech companies like Muna and ensure all the elements for success are there from the start. We’re proud to see Muna emerge with our renowned EiR team. This new financing cements our position as the leader in biotech company creation, but also demonstrates how we synergistically collaborate with international investors to build early-stage biotech companies. We look forward to continuing this exciting journey alongside Rita, the Muna team and our fellow investors."
Muna’s innovative all-in-human target discovery and validation platform is based on proprietary insights into molecular pathways in different human brain cell types that underlie disease pathology and resilience to neurodegeneration, based on work from the De Strooper and Glerup laboratories. Muna has built a cutting-edge small molecule drug discovery engine that leverages high-resolution target structural approaches, AI-driven computational chemistry and cell-based screening.
The financing will be used to advance Muna’s small molecule programs focused on repairing neuronal dysfunction, resolving neuroinflammation and restoring neuroprotection and resilience to disease to Investigational New Drug (IND) applications.