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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

A Day After Investing $1.7 Billion in North Carolina, Novo Nordisk A/S Buys Two Indiana Biotech Companies

Written by: | | Dated: Friday, August 28th, 2015

Novo Nordisk (NVO), headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, announced yesterday that it will buy Calibrium LLC and MB2 LLC, two private biopharma companies based in Indiana.


Calibrium, located in Carmel, Ind., focuses on developing drug candidates for diabetes and related metabolic diseases. It was co-founded by Fritz French, the company’s chief executive officer, and Richard DiMarchi, the company’s chief scientific officer. Prior to founding Calibrium in 2013, French was chief executive officer of Marcadia Biotech until its sale to Roche (RHHBY) in 2011 for $287 million. DiMarchi was a co-founder of Marcadia, as well as Ambrx, Inc. and Assembly Biosciences. He was also a group vice president at (LLY), where he was involved in the discovery of Humalog, Humulin, Humatrope, Lilly Glucagon, Xigris, Forteo and Evista.

Calibrium also received $1.7 million in convertible note funding. Lead investors were Frazier Healthcare Ventures and 5AM Ventures. Additional investors included the Indiana Seed Fund II of BioCrossroads.

MB2 was founded in 2014 and is based in Carmel, Ind., as well. MB2 also focuses on diabetes. It is described as a “clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company advancing a pipeline of first-in-class, mixed agonist drugs for the treatment of diabetes and obesity.” The company was founded by Richard DiMarchi, who acts as chief scientific officer, and Kent Hawryluk, chief executive officer.

Hawryluk was a co-founder of Marcadia. He is a partner in Twilight Venture Partners, chief executive officer of life science advising company Tall Ship Capital Company, co-founder and chair of Gusto, LLC, and co-founder and chief business officer of Avidity NanoMedicines, a nanoparticle company focused on developing next-generation antibody-drug conjugates incorporating RNAi.

DiMarchi is very involved in product and patent development, having applied for approximately 50 patents since 2011. Most recently his patents have involved glucagon-based peptides used to control blood sugar and stimulate insulin production.

“We are always on the lookout for ways to strengthen our leadership position within therapeutic proteins,” said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief science officer of Novo Nordisk in a statement. “This research team has demonstrated world-class capabilities in protein design and created a project portfolio of innovative product leads that fit very well with our aspirations within diabetes and obesity.”

The news came only a day after Novo Nordisk announced that it will spend between $1.2 and $1.7 billion to build a new manufacturing facility in Johnston County, N.C. The manufacturing plant will make active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for diabetes treatment products. It is expected to create about 700 jobs over the next five years.

That facility is helped along by a $15.9 million Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) from the state of North Carolina. An additional $1 million in performance-based grants from One North Carolina Fund have been offered, which need to be matched by local governments.

Financial details of the Novo Nordisk acquisitions have not been disclosed. It is expected to close in the third quarter of 2015.

“It’s an honor to join the global Novo Nordisk research community,” said DiMarchi in a statement. “Their intense focus on metabolic diseases, which over the years has led to numerous breakthrough protein-based medicines, aligns perfectly with my career-long priorities. I’m optimistic that together we can create novel, transformative therapies in the fight against the global epidemic of diabetes and obesity.”


August 28, 2015
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Source: BioSpace Featured News

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