March 14, 2024

Novo Holdings Joins €30M Series A Financing for Asgard Therapeutics, Leader In In Vivo Cell Reprogramming To Treat Cancer

·       Financing to advance first platform designed to reprogram cancer cells into immune cells as pan-tumoral cancer treatment

·       Novo Holdings participation follows earlier investment and incubation through seed phase

·       Financing co-led by RV Invest and Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JJDC, Inc. (JJDC), joined by existing investors Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Industrifonden


COPENHAGEN – March 14th, 2024 – Novo Holdings, a leading global life sciences investor, today announced its participation in a €30M Series A financing for Asgard Therapeutics, a biotech company pioneering direct in vivo cell reprogramming for cancer immunotherapy. The financing was co-led by RV Invest and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC) – with participation from existing investors Novo Holdings, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Industrifonden.

Asgard Therapeutics’ approach enables the transformation of cancer cells into immune cells to induce a broad immune response specific to the patient’s own tumors. The off-the-shelf technology has achieved preclinical proof-of-concept in nearly 100 different tumor cells, including those derived from human patients and in in vivo models. In this researchi, Asgard showed its approach induced a strong anti-tumor immune response, even against distant tumors not containing transformed cells. The approach uses direct cell reprogramming to transform tumor cells into a sub-type of dendritic cell which present tumor antigens to the immune system.

Novo Holdings, through its Seed Investment team, has built a long-standing relationship with the Asgard team beginning with an incubation period focused on strategic and development counsel, guidance from Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and networking support. Novo Holdings also previously participated in Asgard’s seed financing as a founding investor.

“Asgard promises to leapfrog a core challenge in immuno-oncology – the heterogeneity of solid tumors – through the first pan-tumoral cell reprogramming approach. The technology’s elegance and broad potential applicability excited our team as supporting truly transformational medical innovation is core to our investment philosophy. We are proud to be a long-standing supporter of Asgard's mission and welcome RV Invest and JJDC to this important work,” João Ribas, Ph.D., Principal at Novo Holdings, Seed Investments and Asgard Therapeutics Board Member. “This financing will help Asgard advance its approach towards the clinic and to consolidate their scientific leadership for the long-term. We look forward to continuing to work closely with their team to bring the power of cancer reprogramming to patients in need.”

Asgard’s technology is a standardized approach that reprograms cancer cells inside a patient’s body to become conventional Type 1 Dendritic Cells (cDC1s) through forced expression of the key transcription factors that drive conversion into a cDC1 phenotype, a process called direct reprogramming. cDC1s are a rare subset of immune cells which present antigens to the immune system – in this case an individual’s own cancer antigens – to trigger personalized and systemic anti-cancer immune responses. Asgard is planning to achieve IND-readiness for its lead program by 2026, while expanding its R&D team and investigating new reprogramming modalities and delivery platforms. Summaries of the company’s scientific progress have appeared in several key publications in the journal Science Immunology[i],[ii],[iii].

About Novo Holdings A/S
Novo Holdings is a holding and investment company that is responsible for managing the assets and wealth of the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The purpose of Novo Holdings is to improve people’s health and the sustainability of society and the planet by generating attractive long-term returns on the assets of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Novo Holdings is the controlling shareholder of Novo Nordisk and Novonesis (the Novo Group companies) and manages an investment portfolio with a long-term return perspective. Novo Holdings invests in life science companies at all stages of development and also manages a broad portfolio of equities, bonds, real estate and infrastructure assets as well as private equity investments.

As of year-end 2023, Novo Holdings had total assets of €149 billion. Further information:

About Asgard Therapeutics
Asgard Therapeutics is a privately held preclinical stage biotech company pioneering direct in vivo cell reprogramming for cancer immunotherapy. Formed as a spin-off from Lund, the Company builds on ground-breaking and proprietary reprogramming technologies to develop gene therapy products designed to set in motion efficient and personalized immune responses. Backed by Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC), RV Invest, Novo Holdings, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, and Industrifonden, Asgard Therapeutics aims to establish a pipeline of off-the shelf cancer immunotherapies that trigger personalized anti-cancer immune responses for the benefit of cancer patients in need. For more information, please visit:     

[i] DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.add4817

[ii] DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aau4292

[iii] DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abg5539

Further information

Christian Mostrup
Head of Press, Novo Holdings
+45 3067 4805