Johan Kördel, Sound Bioventures founding partner

Eu­ro­pean biotech VC clos­es first fund with over $120M in the bank, thanks to big in­vestors

No­vo Hold­ings starts the new year off with a bang — right in­to a biotech VC’s first fund.

The firm an­nounced its undis­closed in­vest­ment — a “cor­ner­stone” in­vest­ment, ac­cord­ing to No­vo — this morn­ing in­to Sound Bioven­tures Fund I, a fund ap­pro­pri­ate­ly man­aged by Sound Bioven­tures. The ven­ture cap­i­tal firm aims to in­vest one-third of its fund in Scan­di­na­vian biotechs, an­oth­er third in US and UK biotechs, and the fi­nal third in oth­er Eu­ro­pean biotechs out­side Scan­di­navia and the UK.

No­vo Hold­ings was joined by Sam­in­vest, Væk­st­fonden, Rams­bury In­vest and the Eu­ro­pean In­vest­ment Fund, along­side oth­er pri­vate in­vestors.

With all in­vest­ments so far at first close, Sound’s first fund has net­ted the VC $124 mil­lion (or €110 mil­lion).

Found­ing part­ner Jo­han Kördel told End­points News that they hope to get to €150 mil­lion in the next 12 months, and have a hard cap of €200 mil­lion, or just un­der $250 mil­lion, if the fund is “ex­treme­ly suc­cess­ful.”

Sound has a three-man found­ing team. Casper Breum and Kördel, who spent 12 years to­geth­er at ma­jor VC Lund­beck­fonden be­fore go­ing off on their own to start Sound, are based in Eu­rope. And there’s a third man be­hind the cur­tain — Bib­hash Mukhopad­hyay.

Based out of Wash­ing­ton, DC, Mukhopad­hyay used to be a prin­ci­pal at NEA. He was brought on board with Sound at the rec­om­men­da­tion of Søren Møller, a man­ag­ing part­ner at No­vo Seeds, to bring on some­one in the US.

“Møller made it clear to us that it’s go­ing to be chal­leng­ing for you to be fi­nan­cial­ly suc­cess­ful, if you on­ly in­vest in Scan­di­navia,” Kördel said.

Kördel con­tin­ued:

And in the work we did with Lund­beck­fonden Ven­tures, we in­vest­ed half of our in­vest­ments in the US and half in Eu­rope — so we were al­ready very at­tuned to hav­ing an in­ter­na­tion­al view on where to in­vest in life sci­ence. And we were en­cour­aged by, okay, we re­al­ly shouldn’t be look­ing at this as an in­ter­na­tion­al fund, with some sim­i­lar­i­ties to what we had been do­ing be­fore. And then it be­came clear that we would ben­e­fit from hav­ing some­body in the US.

The VC’s fo­cus is on biotechs with can­di­dates in clin­i­cal or late pre-clin­i­cal stages — and pri­mar­i­ly with­in rare dis­eases. How­ev­er, Kördel not­ed that Sound is not a huge fund, so while the part­ners like gene ther­a­py and cell ther­a­py, the CMC costs would be way high­er com­pared to pro­teins and small mol­e­cules.

Søren Møller

Møller told End­points that No­vo en­gaged with Sound more di­rect­ly be­tween nine months and a year ago to get in­vest­ment un­der­way — but it was not the first time he had worked with the brains be­hind the op­er­a­tion at Sound. Kördel said that he had talked with Møller as far back as 2019 about strik­ing out on his own along­side Breum, and Møller had been coach­ing them since the ear­ly stage of the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic.

And while Møller would not dis­close the amount that No­vo in­vest­ed in­to Sound, he did say that the in­vest­ment was more sub­stan­tial than sym­bol­ic — and in­dica­tive of a po­ten­tial long-term re­la­tion­ship.

“When we launch or when we cor­ner­stone a new man­ag­er like this one, we def­i­nite­ly fore­see to par­tic­i­pate in the next fund and the next fund, so it’s a long term re­la­tion­ship,” Møller said.

Alexander Lefterov/Endpoints News

A new can­cer im­munother­a­py brings cau­tious hope for a field long await­ing the next big break­through

Bob Seibert sat silent across from his daughter at their favorite Spanish restaurant near his home in Charleston County, SC, their paella growing cold as he read through all the places in his body doctors found tumors.

He had texted his wife, a pediatric intensive care nurse, when he got the alert that his online chart was ready. Although he saw immediately it was bad, many of the terms — peritoneal, right iliac — were inscrutable. But she was five hours downstate, at a loud group dinner the night before another daughter’s cheer competition.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

In a set­back, FDA or­ders Gilead to hit the brakes on their late-stage, $5B can­cer play

Gilead’s $5 billion drug magrolimab has run into a serious setback.

The FDA ordered Gilead to halt enrollment on their studies of the drug in combination with azacitidine after investigators reports revealed an “apparent imbalance” in the suspected unexpected serious adverse reactions between study arms. And the halt is raising questions about Gilead’s plans for a quick pitch to regulators.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 129,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Graphic: Alexander Lefterov for Endpoints News

Small biotechs with big drug am­bi­tions threat­en to up­end the tra­di­tion­al drug launch play­book

Of the countless decisions Vlad Coric had to make as Biohaven’s CEO over the past seven years, there was one that felt particularly nerve-wracking: Instead of selling to a Big Pharma, the company decided it would commercialize its migraine drug itself.

“I remember some investors yelling and pounding on the table like, you can’t do this. What are you thinking? You’re going to get crushed by AbbVie,” he recalled.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 129,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: Pfiz­er de­buts Pre­vnar 20 TV ads; Lil­ly gets first FDA 2022 pro­mo slap down let­ter

Pfizer debuted its first TV ad for its Prevnar 20 next-generation pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine. In the 60-second spot, several people (actor portrayals) with their ages listed as 65 or older are shown walking into a clinic as they turn to say they’re getting vaccinated with Prevnar 20 because they’re at risk.

The update to Pfizer’s blockbuster Prevnar 13 vaccine was approved in June, and as its name suggests is a vaccine for 20 serotypes — the original 13 plus seven more that cause pneumococcal disease. Pfizer used to spend heavily on TV ads to promote Prevnar 13 in 2018 and 2019 but cut back its TV budgets in the past two fall and winter seasonal spending cycles. Prevnar had been Pfizer’s top-selling drug, notching sales of just under $6 billion in 2020, and was the world’s top-selling vaccine before the Covid-19 vaccines came to market last year.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 129,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Roy Baynes, Merck

FDA bats back Mer­ck’s ‘pipeline in a prod­uct,’ de­mands more ef­fi­ca­cy da­ta

Despite some heavy blowback from analysts, Merck execs maintained an upbeat attitude about the market potential of its chronic cough drug gefapixant. But the confidence may be fading somewhat today as Merck puts out news that the FDA is handing back its application with a CRL.

Dubbed by Merck’s development chief Roy Baynes as a “pipeline in a product” with a variety of potential uses, Merck had fielded positive late-stage data demonstrating the drug’s ability to combat chronic cough. The drug dramatically reduced chronic cough in Phase III, but so did placebo, leaving Merck’s research team with a marginal success on the p-value side of the equation.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 129,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Albert Bourla (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Pfiz­er fields a CRL for a $295M rare dis­ease play, giv­ing ri­val a big head start

Pfizer won’t be adding a new rare disease drug to the franchise club — for now, anyway.

The pharma giant put out word that their FDA application for the growth hormone therapy somatrogon got the regulatory heave-ho, though they didn’t even hint at a reason for the CRL. Following standard operating procedure, Pfizer said in a terse missive that they would be working with regulators on a followup.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 129,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Brian Thomas, Metagenomi CEO

Gen 2: Berke­ley spin­out lands $175M megaround to keep it on the cut­ting edge of the boom­ing gene-edit­ing field

The big bucks keep pumping into the gene-editing field.

This morning Metagenomi, allied with one of the biggest names in the mRNA field with a company DNA that includes the ubiquitous Jennifer Doudna, is showing off a $175 million B round that will pay for a rapid swelling of its staff in pursuit of some of the cutting-edge tech that keeps this field in the spotlight. And they’re aligning themselves with some major industry players with an eye on the clinic while getting behind some startups to help expand the work into new fields.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 129,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Michael Egholm, Standard BioTools president and CEO (IsoPlexis)

Eli Cas­din co-leads $250M in­fu­sion in­to mi­croflu­idics play­er that land­ed NIH fund­ing for Covid-19 test­ing

In about 17 months, Fluidigm has gone from working with sharks to Vikings.

The South San Francisco-based company, which landed NIH money in a Shark Tank-style program for Covid-19 testing, announced that it will take on an investment worth $250 million from Casdin Capital and Viking Global Investors. It will also rebrand, and call itself Standard BioTools. The investment will help the company focus on the highest growth areas of discovery and development and expand its CRO and CMO service providers. Right now, the company’s customer reach is limited to basic research, it said.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 129,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

Opin­ion: Flori­da is so mAb crazy, Ron De­San­tis wants to use mAbs that don't work

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is trying so hard to politicize the FDA and demonize the federal government that he entered into an alternate universe on Monday evening in describing a recent FDA action to restrict the use of two monoclonal antibody, or mAb, treatments for Covid-19 that don’t work against Omicron.

Without further ado, let’s break down his statement from last night, line by line, adjective by adjective.