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Venture forces invest millions in new type of treatment for particularly aggressive form of cancer Release Time:2023-10-19

A syndicate consisting of the Lundbeck Foundation BioCapital, EIR Ventures, EIFO and UCPH Ventures has just made an investment in the Danish biotech company Dania Therapeutics (Dania Tx). The company is based on research from renowned professor Kristian Helin and dr. Karl Agger originating from Helin's former research group at the University of Copenhagen. The ambition is to develop a treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) which also holds potential for treatment of other types of cancer.

The investment of DKK 15 mill. reflects a strong commitment to Danish science and to an attractive local biotech ecosystem, according to Lars Gredsted, Senior Principal at the Lundbeck Foundation BioCapital:

"We are stepping in with strong partners at an early stage, where we can help build and further develop Dania Tx. We know from previous collaborations that Kristian Helin stands for research of stellar quality. It is not only an exciting strategic and operational task for us. It is also an important goal to expand the treatment palette for people affected by AML and hopefully for patients with other cancer types as well", says Lars Gredsted, Senior Principal at the Lundbeck Foundation BioCapital.

Lene Gerlach, Partner in Eir Ventures elaborates:

"With the investment in Dania Tx, we combine the great potential of innovation at the Danish universities with the strength of strategic investments. Dania Tx is based on pioneering cancer research from prof. Kristian Helin's research group at the University of Copenhagen, and a testament to the continued search for solutions that can improve the lives of cancer patients. Eir Ventures is proud to be part of this dedicated investor consortium of valued local partners.”

Wide potential
Dania Tx's research focuses on a new biological mechanism that exploits the fact that metabolism in cancer cells differs from that in normal cells. This broad-acting potential gives hope for the treatment to be used for more cancer types, for example other types of leukaemia and colorectal and pancreatic cancer.

“We are very pleased with this investment. It will allow us to take the next necessary steps of developing new therapies for AML and potential a range of other types of cancers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues in Dania Tx and in particular Vernalis Research for their outstanding work” ’says Kristian Helin, who is now President and Chief Executive at The Institute of Cancer Research in London.

Dania Tx was founded in July 2021 by the scientific founders, Professor Kristian Helin and Dr. Karl Agger, together with venture creator, Hannibal Innovation, and drug discovery expert, Kim Andersen.

“With this financing we plan to further validate the therapeutic potential of the research from Kristian’s lab, which could transform the field of cancer metabolism. We look forward to taking Dania Tx through the next development stages together with our investment syndicate, and our drug discovery co-founder Vernalis”, says Hamed Brodersen, CEO and co-founder of Hannibal Innovation together with Karin Absalonsen.

At the investment company under the University of Copenhagen, UCPH Ventures, the vice-chancellor for research, David Dreyer Lassen, is also happy about the new investment:

"I am very pleased to see this group of partners come together for an investment, which holds the potential to accelerate the application of promising research and develop treatments that are needed in society", says David Dreyer Lassen and adds: "This type of investment reflects the reason why the university of Copenhagen established UCPH Ventures; Precisely so that we can connect our world-leading researchers with investors, who together can ensure that we can effectively put knowledge to use and make a difference to society.”




Top left to right: David Dreyer Larsen (UCPH Ventures), Lene Gerlach (Eir Ventures)
Bottom left to right: Kristian Helin (Dania Tx), Søren Danielsen Juhl (EIFO), Lars Gredsted (Lundbeck Foundation)


- END -

Media contact:
Anne Sophie Tønnesen, Sr. Communications Partner, +45 4045 8166, ast@lundbeckfonden.com


About AML
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood. The disease most often affects the elderly over the age of 65 and is a rapidly progressive disease that can rarely be cured. Today there are 155,000 AML patients worldwide, and in Europe alone there are 20,000 new cases per year.

About Lundbeckfonden BioCapital
Lundbeckfonden BioCapital is a leading Danish biotech investor and currently has investments of over DKK 2 billion in 20 Danish and international companies, planning to double the number of Danish companies in the portfolio by 2030. Lundbeckfonden BioCapital focuses its new investments primarily on Danish-based biotech companies and the local ecosystem with the purpose of bringing discoveries to the benefit of patients worldwide.


About the Lundbeck Foundation
The Lundbeck Foundation is an enterprise foundation encompassing a comprehensive range of enterprise and philanthropic activities – all united by its strong purpose; Bringing Discoveries to Lives. The Foundation is the long-term and engaged owner of several international healthcare companies – Lundbeck, Falck, ALK and Ferrosan Medical Devices – and an active investor in business, science, and people through its commercial investments in the financial markets; in biotech companies based on Danish research and through philanthropic grants to science talents and programmes in Danish universities. The Foundation’s philanthropic grants amount to more than DKK 500m annually primarily focusing on the brain – including the world’s largest personal prize for neuroscience: The Brain Prize.


About Hannibal Innovation
Hannibal Innovation transitions important science and technology into investible growth companies. We partner with highly productive scientists and research institutions globally that stand out in the scientific community and in the industry. We have an infrastructure to advance projects and provide hands-on management from start to finish. Our approach is a rapid, cost-effective, and convenient way to transition concepts into growth companies.


About Vernalis, a HitGen Company
Vernalis is a world leader in fragment and structure-based drug discovery with a record of progressing targets from concept to clinic. Based in Cambridge, UK, we have generated development candidates across oncology, neurodegeneration, anti-infectives and inflammation, through global collaborations. Vernalis is a wholly owned subsidiary of HitGen Inc (688222.SH).

About Eir Ventures
Eir Ventures is a life sciences venture capital fund investing in private companies with stellar entrepreneurs developing transformative therapeutic approaches. Optimal and responsible value creation for companies and investors is obtained by working closely with our portfolio companies. We contribute our company building and management expertise, strategic thinking and our extensive networks to drive healthcare innovation to the benefit of patients, healthcare systems, investors and society.


About EIFO
The Danish Export & Investment Fund (EIFO) serves as a single-entry point for Danish-anchored companies seeking loans and venture financing, with green technology transitioning and life science being leading investment sectors. The life science portfolio encompasses over 30 companies specializing in digital health, medtech, and biotech, with investments totaling more than DKK 1 billion.


About UCPH Ventures
UCPH Ventures was established in 2022 and has entered into a co-investment agreement with Eir Ventures. The University of Copenhagen has set aside up to 2 million euros for co-investments with Eir Ventures. The perspective is to utilize the world-class research carried out at the University of Copenhagen by investing in the development of spin-out companies. It is the first time that a Danish university engages in this form of spinout and investment support.


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