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Novo Holdings REPAIR Impact Fund Invests USD 10 Million in Curza and Spero

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark, July 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Novo Holdings REPAIR Impact Fund announced a USD 5.25 million investment in Curza, a small-molecule therapeutics company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, to accelerate its lead program, a new class of antibiotics focused on drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria.

"Curza is very excited to be working with Novo Holdings. Both companies have a strong commitment to bringing new antibiotics to the market to combat the growing threat of drug-resistant bacteria. Novo Holdings' commitment to Curza allows the company to accelerate the development of a much-needed novel class of antibiotics," said Ryan Davies, Curza's Chief Executive Officer.

The REPAIR Impact Fund has also invested USD 5 million [plus potentially additional USD 5 million] in Spero Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SPRO), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. Spero will advance its SPR720 program, an oral antibiotic being developed for the treatment of non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections.

"Spero and Novo Holdings are both committed to addressing the growing, global problem of antibiotic resistance, and funding from this offering will provide additional capital to advance SPR720 and our robust pipeline of product candidates designed to combat antibiotic resistance," said Ankit Mahadevia, Spero's Chief Executive Officer.

The investments have been made following the REPAIR Impact Fund's US/Canadian investment round targeting companies in North America developing novel anti-infectives, which opened in September 2018. The fund received 52 investment proposals which have been studied by the REPAIR Impact Fund's Scientific Selection Board, narrowing the field down to a few selected companies suitable for investment.

Aleks Engel, Director of the REPAIR Impact Fund, commented: "From the many high-quality proposals targeting the deadliest resistant pathogens on the planet, we are delighted to have invested in two highly promising companies and programs. Both investments are made into two small molecule programs. We would have liked to see more new modalities; however, the best science wins. We are still considering one last project from the US/Canadian round and have already received nearly 40 new proposals from our second European round. We are very grateful for all of them."

Since the launch of the REPAIR Impact Fund in early 2018, a total of USD 30 million has been invested in six companies developing innovative novel anti-infective therapies. The goal is to invest the EUR 135 (USD 165) million REPAIR Impact Fund, into 20 start-ups, early-stage companies and corporate spin-outs across Europe and North America involved in discovering and early-stage development of therapies to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

More than 700,000 people die each year from infections resistant to most or all antibiotics, and the number is increasing by the day. Such infections are projected to kill more people than cancer by 2050. Global economic output is expected to be reduced by between 2% and 3.5% and to severely cripple modern medical and surgical advances. For this reason, Novo Holdings created the REPAIR Impact Fund to confront this pending global medical catastrophe.

About the REPAIR Impact Fund

The Fund will invest in start-ups, early-stage companies and corporate spin-outs in Europe and the United States. It will give priority to first-in-class therapies, covering small molecules, biologics and new modalities, from the early stage of drug development (lead optimization) to the early stages of clinical development (Phase 1). It can invest as the sole investor or in a syndicate, with investments ranging from USD 1 million to USD 15 million.

The projects will be selected through an investment process with support of a highly qualified Scientific Selection Board, comprising 10 world-class experts. For more information about members of the Scientific Selection Board, see www.repair-impact-fund.com/people.

The Fund will focus on priority pathogens as defined by the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a catalogue of 12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health. The list especially highlights the threat of gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to multiple or all antibiotics. For more details about the investment process, see www.repair-impact-fund.com/investment-process.

REPAIR is an acronym: Replenishing and Enabling the Pipeline for Anti-Infective Resistance.

About Novo Holdings

Novo Seeds is the early stage investment arm of Novo Holdings. Novo Holdings A/S is a Danish private limited liability company wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. It is the holding company of the Novo Group, comprising Novo Nordisk A/S, Novozymes A/S and NNIT A/S, and manages the Foundation's assets.

In addition to being the major shareholder in the Novo Group companies, Novo Holdings provides seed and venture capital to development-stage companies, takes significant ownership positions in well-established companies within life science and manages a broad portfolio of financial assets.

It is the vision of Novo Holdings to be recognized as a world-leading life science investor with a focus on creating long-term value. Read more at www.novoholdings.dk.

About Curza

Curza is a drug development company focused on developing novel therapeutics to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria. Curza's lead program is designed to kill bacteria with known resistance to other ribosomal antibiotics by binding to a clinically un-drugged and highly conserved site on the bacterial ribosome.  These new antibiotics' unique mechanism of action allows maximum penetration of bacterial cells leading to potent activity against drug-resistant ESKAPE pathogens.  Headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT with offices in Cambridge, MA, Curza is privately held and is backed by several private investors. Visit www.curza.com for more information.

About Spero

Spero Therapeutics, Inc. is a multi-asset, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on identifying, developing and commercializing novel treatments for multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterial infections and rare diseases. Spero's lead product candidate, SPR994, is designed to be the first oral carbapenem-class antibiotic for use in adults to treat MDR Gram-negative infections. Spero is also advancing SPR720, its novel oral therapy product candidate designed for the treatment of rare, orphan disease caused by pulmonary non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections. Spero also has a platform technology known as its Potentiator Platform that it believes will enable it to develop drugs that will expand the spectrum and potency of existing antibiotics, including formerly inactive antibiotics, against Gram-negative bacteria. Spero's lead product candidates generated from its Potentiator Platform are two IV-administered agents, SPR206 and SPR741, designed to treat MDR Gram-negative infections in the hospital setting. For more information, visit https://sperotherapeutics.com.

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SOURCE Novo Holdings

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