March 1, 2022

Novo Holdings Portfolio Company Syndesi Therapeutics acquired by AbbVie

  • Deal value of US$ 1 billion with US$ 130 million upfront

  • Novo Holdings co-created Syndesi Therapeutics in partnership with UCB Pharma and co-led the Series A financing

  • Syndesi’s lead program SDI-118 to be accelerated by AbbVie to the benefit of patients suffering from cognitive impairment associated with a range of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases

Copenhagen, Denmark – Novo Holdings, a leading international life sciences investor, today announces that its portfolio company Syndesi Therapeutics (‘Syndesi’) has been acquired by AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) for up to US$1 billion in total deal value with US$ 130 million upfront.

Syndesi was created in 2018 as the result of a close collaboration between Novo Seeds, the company creation arm of Novo Holdings, and UCB Pharma, the Belgium-based global pharmaceutical company. The investment in Syndesi is an integral part of Novo Seeds’ approach to new venture formation by co-leading spinouts from pharmaceutical companies based on assets that are no longer in-line with the corporation’s overall strategy.

The collaborative effort by Novo Seeds and UCB Pharma – alongside a syndicate of Belgian and international investors – enabled Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Savidge and his team to focus on progressing the first-in-class synaptic vesicle protein 2A (SV2A) programme into clinical Phase 1b studies.

Morten Graugaard Døssing, Board Director of Syndesi and Partner at Novo Holdings, said: “Spin-out ventures from pharmaceutical companies are an integrated part of Novo Seeds’ company creation strategy, where we aim to add significant strategic and operational support to the spin-out process. AbbVie’s acquisition of Syndesi is a testament to our strategy as well as to the leadership team, the assets they developed and the strategy they executed. We worked closely with the Syndesi team and our co-investors through the Company’s early development and we are incredibly proud of the progress made. As one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in CNS drug development globally, AbbVie makes the perfect partner to maximize the potential benefit of Syndesi’s lead candidate, SDI-118, for the treatment of cognitive impairment across multiple diseases.”

Jonathan Savidge and the Syndesi team have developed a portfolio of novel SV2A modulators to treat synaptic transmission deficits associated with cognitive dysfunction across a range of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, schizophrenia, and depression. In this process the team has added significant insights into the biology of SV2A and the mechanism of action of the Company’s lead program SDI-118.

Jonathan Savidge, Chief Executive Officer, Syndesi Therapeutics, said: “We have been impressed with the vision of AbbVie’s neuroscience R&D team, who share our view on the therapeutic potential of SDI-118 in a range of neurologic diseases. I am delighted with the announcement of this deal. It has been a pleasure to partner with Novo Seeds, UCB and our other investors to investigate the potential of SDI-118 in early clinical studies. Now, as part of AbbVie, the programme is well positioned to move into late-stage clinical development.”

Syndesi Therapeutics is one of several Novo Seeds portfolio companies focused on developing better treatments for CNS disorders, an area of significant unmet medical need. In addition to Syndesi Therapeutics Novo Seeds has launched four other companies in the neuroscience space including Muna Therapeutics (neurodegeneration), NMD Pharma (neuromuscular disorders), Hoba Therapeutics (Pain), and Avilex Pharma (Acute Ischemic Stroke).

Further information

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, Communications, Novo Holdings, +45 3067 4805,