Novartis Venture Fund
INVESTING in innovative life science companies for PATIENT BENEFIT, creating attractive returns for entrepreneurs and investors.

NVF is stage agnostic, engaging in investments from seed- to later-stage life sciences companies across Biotechnology/Biopharma, Medical Devices and Diagnostics.

NVF manages over USD 1 billion in committed capital and more than 40 portfolio companies across North America, Europe, Israel and Asia/Pacific.

Our Fund

Investment Focus:

Our primary focus is on the development of novel therapeutics and platforms. In our investments we look for unmet need and clinical impact, novel proprietary science and understanding of mechanism, management and board experience and capital efficiency in the program.

Invest Globally:

We invest in North America, Europe, Israel and Asia/Pacific and manage over USD 1 billion in committed capital and more than 40 portfolio companies. We continue our strategy of making larger focused investments and anticipate total investments up to USD 30 million per company over its life.

Invest Across Healthcare Sector:

We make equity investments in life sciences companies across Biotechnology/Biopharma, Medical Devices and Diagnostics. NVF is stage agnostic and engages in seed investments as well as later-stage investments. We typically lead or co-lead an investment and play an active role on company boards.

of interest


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Medical Devices and Diagnostics

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number of jobs created
> 1000

dollars under management > $1 billion

Phase 1 and 2 clinical programs

Return to Our Fund overview

Pipeline Overview of Biotechnology Portfolio

The Novartis Venture Fund has investments across various therapeutic areas. We seek companies that are truly innovative, have the potential to offer significant patient benefit, have excellent management and are capital-efficient.

In total, our current portfolio companies have 18 clinical programs in Phase 1 or Phase 2.

Autoimmune, Immunology, Transplantation
3 2
Cardiovascular, Metabolism
1 1
Infectious Diseases
5 3 3
4 1 2
3 1 1
Oncology, Hematology
12 2 3
Woman's Health
  Pre-Clinical   Phase I   Phase II

Return to Our Fund overview

Medical Devices and Diagnostics

Seeking Healthcare Innovation

Physicians use a combination of technologies to produce the best clinical outcome. The challenges and opportunities in healthcare are multi-factorial. Our fund looks broadly to invest in all types of healthcare innovation that will to serve clinical need. The Novartis Venture Fund has invested in medical technologies and diagnostics since its inception in 1996. Our device investments are led by Steven Weinstein in our Cambridge office. We currently have targeted 20% of our fund to medical device, diagnostics and other healthcare-related information technology opportunities.

Our Focus

Our definition of medical technologies is broad. The NVF seeks opportunities that can change the practice of medicine, produce meaningful patient benefit, or reduce costs of medical care. We look for underserved indications, or where a company’s technology enables a new treatment paradigm. In today’s more cost-conscious healthcare environment, we also look for companies whose technologies allow the healthcare system to reduce overall cost while maintaining or improving outcomes. Our investment strategy is stage agnostic (seed to growth capital) and we are happy to lead an investment, and invest globally.

Our Portfolio

Advanced Animal Diagnostics, Inc.:
On-farm diagnostics platform to detect disease states and optimize overall health status of production animals.

Atlas Genetics, Ltd.:
Molecular diagnostic system for the ultra-rapid diagnosis of a broad range of infectious diseases.

Autonomic Technologies, Inc.:
Implantable neurostimulation device for severe headaches such as cluster headaches and migraines.

BioNano Genomics, Inc.:
Genome mapping platform using nanochannel technology to visualize whole genomes of any organism, including humans.

Genedata AG:
Computational solutions for drug discovery and systems biology research.

Intersection Medical, Inc.:
Monitoring device to manage patients in acute decompensated heart failure.

Sonitus Medical, Inc.:
FDA approved medical device for the treatment of single-sided deafness.

Symetis AG:
Trans-apical and trans-femoral cardiac valve replacement.

Our Team

Fund Management

Dr. Reinhard Ambros
Dr. Christine Brennan
Bart Dzikowski
Giovanni Ferrara
Dr. Markus Goebel
Florent Gros
Dr. Anja König
Dr. Campbell Murray
Dr. Henry Skinner
Dr. Lauren Silverman
Steven Weinstein

Dr Reinhard J. Ambros is Global Head of Novartis Venture Fund, in Basel, Switzerland. Previously, he was Managing Director of the Novartis BioVenture Fund in the USA. He also worked with Novartis Corporate Finance where he held the position of Head of Group Strategic Planning for several years. He was responsible for post-merger integrations at Novartis Corporate M&A and was Global Head Business Development & Licensing for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases at Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Earlier in his career he had global leadership positions for key drug development projects at Novartis and Roche. He trained as a pharmacist, has a PhD in medicinal chemistry and pharmacology and focused postdoctoral training in clinical pharmacology.

Portfolio companies

Aileron Therapeutics, Inc. (Board Seat) Forma Therapeutics, LLC. (Board Seat) Genedata AG (Board Seat) Symetis AG (Board Seat) Aerpio Therapeutics, Inc. (Board Seat)


EsbaTech AG (Acquired by Alcon) Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: IDIX) Pharmasset, Inc. (Acquired by Gilead Sciences) Swiss Pharma Contract (Acquired by Covance) Tokai Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: TKAI)

Dr. Christine Brennan is a Principal in Cambridge, MA, USA. Prior to joining Novartis Venture Fund, she was Chief Business Officer at Vitae Pharmaceuticals. Previously, she was Executive Director and Head of Strategy & Operations in Strategic Alliances with Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research and, before that, she has held positions in biotechnology and mid-size pharma companies in business development and marketing at EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, Biovail Corp. and Cogent Neurosciences and was a Director at the venture capital company Fidelity Biosciences Group. She received her PhD in neuroscience from Dartmouth Medical School and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental neurobiology at the National Institutes of Health.

Bart Dzikowski is the Head of Legal for Novartis Venture Fund in Basel, Switzerland.  During his time with Novartis, Bart has served as the Head of Corporate Legal M&A (AI) and as Senior Business Development & Licensing / M&A Counsel. Before joining Novartis in 2009, Bart was Vice President with the Investment Banking Division of Bank of America / Merrill Lynch in New York and, before that, he was an associate with the Corporate / M&A Group at the law firm of Allen & Overy LLP in New York. Bart holds degrees in common law (LL.B.) and civil law (B.C.L.) from McGill Law School in Canada and is a member of the New York State bar.

Giovanni Ferrara is a Venture Partner in Cambridge, MA, USA. Prior to joining Novartis Venture Fund, he was a consultant to leading west coast venture capital firms and portfolio companies. Most recently, he was consulting Chief Business Officer to Sorbent Therapeutics. Previously, he was Managing Director and General Partner at Burrill & Company and began his venture capital career at GeneChem Management, where in addition to investing, he held operating positions in portfolio companies, including CEO of Targanta Therapeutics (then PhageTech, Inc.). He began his career in healthcare as a pharmacist at a cancer treatment center researching experimental therapies. He received his MBA and MSc at McGill University. Giovanni serves on the board of Thesan Pharmaceuticals.

Portfolio companies

Thesan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Board Seat)

Dr. Markus Goebel is a Managing Director in Basel, Switzerland. Prior to joining Novartis Venture Fund, he worked as head Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporate M&A and Head Nervous System Business Development & Licensing. An MD by training and certified, amongst others, in hematology/oncology he worked for Farmitalia Germany and later held several positions in R&D, Marketing and Strategy at Roche headquarters before joining Novartis. Markus received an MD and a PhD from the Ludwig Maximilian’s University in Munich and an MBA from Henley. Markus serves on the boards of eFFECTOR, Ra Pharmaceuticals and Trellis RSV Holdings, Inc.

Portfolio companies

eFFECTOR Therapeutics, Inc. (Board Seat) Merganser Biotech, Inc. Ra Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Board Seat) Trellis RSV Holdings, Inc. (Board Seat)


Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACOR) EraGen Biosciences, Inc. (Acquired by Luminex Corporation) FoldRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Acquired by Pfizer) Intellikine, Inc. (Acquired by Takeda) LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Acquired by Takeda) Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Acquired by GlaxoSmithKline) Xenoport, Inc. (NASDAQ: XNPT)

Florent Gros is a Managing Director in Basel, Switzerland. Prior to joining Novartis Venture Fund, he worked in various global leadership positions in intellectual property and transaction matters at Nestlé, Pasteur Merieux Connaught (Sanofi Pasteur) and Novartis, in Europe and North America. Florent is a Kaufmann Fellow (class 12) and holds a Biotechnology Engineering Master Degree from France, and did his diploma thesis on vaccines at GSK in Belgium. He also holds European and French patent lawyer degrees and a Master in Private Law. Florent serves on the boards of AIT, Atlas Genetics, Gensight Biologics, Immune Targeting Systems, Merus, MyoPowers and Opsona.

Portfolio companies

Anokion SA (Board Seat) Applied Immune Technologies, Ltd. (Board Seat) Atlas Genetics, Ltd (Board Seat) Gensight Biologics (Board Seat) Merus Biopharmaceuticals BV (Board Seat) MyoPowers Medical Technologies SA (Board Seat) Opsona, Ltd (Board Seat) Vaxin, Inc. (Board Seat)


Evolva AG (SIX Swiss Exchange: EVE) Neovacs SA (Alternext Paris: ALNEV) Okairos AG (Acquired by GlaxoSmithKline) Cellerix BV (Merger with Tigenix BV, NYSE Euronext: TIG)

Dr. Anja König is a Managing Director in Basel, Switzerland. She is active in the UK, Switzerland and the rest of Europe. Prior to joining Novartis Venture Fund she was an Associate Partner at McKinsey and Company in New York, a global consultancy, where she worked with healthcare companies in the US, Europe and Emerging Markets. Anja holds a PhD in physics from Cornell University. Anja serves on the boards of Bicycle Therapeutics, F2G, Forendo Pharma and Heptares Therapeutics.

Portfolio companies

Bicycle Therapeutics, Ltd. (Board Seat) F2G, Ltd. (Board Seat) Forendo Pharma, Ltd. (Board Seat)


Covagen AG (Acquired by J&J) Heptares Therapeutics, Ltd (Acquired by Sosei)

Dr. Campbell Murray is a Managing Director in Cambridge, MA, USA. Prior to joining Novartis Venture Fund, he worked at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research as the Director of Special Projects. Campbell is a New Zealand-trained physician and worked as a Medical House Officer at Auckland Hospital. He is a Kauffman Fellow and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MPP (public policy) from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he was a Knox Fellow and Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. Campbell serves on the boards of Aerpio, Annexon Neurosciences, BioNano Genomics, Euthymics, Galera, ImaginAb and Neurovance.

Portfolio companies

Aerpio Therapeutics, Inc. (Board Seat) Annexon Neurosciences, Inc. (Board Seat) BioNano Genomics, Inc. (Board Seat) Euthymics Bioscience, Inc. (Board Seat) Galera Therapeutics, Inc. (Board Seat) ImaginAb, Inc. (Board Seat) Neurovance, Inc. (Board Seat)


Akebia Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKBA) Alios BioPharma, Inc. (Acquired by J&J) Tokai Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: TKAI)

Dr. Henry Skinner is a Managing Director in Cambridge, MA, USA. Prior to joining Novartis Venture Fund he worked as Executive Director & Global Head Strategic Alliances, Therapeutics and Technologies at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research where he led a team responsible for identification, negotiation and management of collaborations and licenses for Novartis’ therapeutic areas as well as technology areas. Prior to joining Novartis he was CEO of SelectX Pharmaceuticals and President and CEO of NeoGenesis Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Schering-Plough. He was also Director of Technology Acquisitions for Pharmacia & Upjohn and managed business development and licensing for Pharmacia’s research platforms and therapeutic areas worldwide. Prior to Pharmacia he was Director of Business Development at Lexicon Genetics. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Baylor College of Medicine in the department of Human and Molecular Genetics and earned his PhD in Microbiology and MS in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois. Henry serves on the boards of Adenosine Therapeutics, Aeglea, AMP Therapeutics, Galera Therapeutics, Proteostasis and Quartet Medicine.

Portfolio companies

Aeglea Biotherapeutics Holdings, LLC (Board Seat) AMP Therapeutics GmbH (Board Seat) Galera Therapeutics, Inc. (Board Seat) Proteostasis Therapeutics, Inc. (Board Seat) Quartet Medicine, Inc. (Board Seat)


Adenosine Therapeutics, Inc. (Acquired by Clinical Data) Avila Therapeutics, Inc. (Acquired by Celgene)

Dr. Lauren Silverman is a Managing Director in Cambridge, MA, USA. Prior to joining Novartis Venture Fund, she was Global Head of Oncology Research Operations for Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. Prior to Novartis, she was Director of Business Development and Licensing at Pfizer and OSI Pharmaceuticals. Lauren was also a founding scientist of Cadus Pharmaceuticals. She earned her PhD in molecular biology from the University of Utah, followed by fellowships at Princeton and Memorial Sloan Kettering.


Celladon, Corp. (NASDAQ: CLDN) Cequent Pharmaceuticals (Acquired by MDRNA)

Steven D. Weinstein is a Managing Director in Cambridge, MA, USA. Steve focuses on both medical device and therapeutic investments for the fund. Steve has been an entrepreneur and venture capitalist for over twenty years, working across bio/pharma, medical device, software, and industrial markets. Prior to joining Novartis Venture Fund, Steve was a Principal at Prism Venture Partners where he focused on medical devices. Prior to Prism, Steve was a Principal and Kauffman Fellow with Mid-Atlantic Venture Fund. He started his career as turnaround CEO, raising angel funds to buy the assets of a defunct distribution business out of bankruptcy and rebuilding the business over the next several years. Steve holds an MBA with distinction from the University of Michigan Business School and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science. He serves on the Partner's Healthcare Innovation Advisory Board and the University of Michigan Wolverine Venture Fund Advisory Board.  Steve serves on the boards of Advanced Animal Diagnostics, Autonomic Technologies, Innocrin, Intersection Medical, Sonitus Medical and Viamet.

Portfolio companies

Advanced Animal Diagnostics, Inc. (Board Seat) Autonomic Technologies, Inc. (Board Seat) Innocrin Pharmaceuticals Holdings, LLC (Board Seat) Intersection Medical, Inc. (Board Seat) Sonitus Medical, Inc. (Board Seat) Viamet Pharmaceuticals Holdings, LLC (Board Seat)


Ablation Frontiers, Inc. (Acquired by Medtronic) Visiogen, Inc. (Acquired by Abbott)

Directors of Advisory Board

Prof. Patrick Aebischer
Prof. Michel Aguet
Prof. Paul Herrling
Harry Kirsch
Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn
Prof. Daniel Louvard
Prof. Christoph Meier
Dr. Raj Parekh
Prof. Hidde Ploegh

President of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Professor of Neurosciences. Member of the Board of Lonza and the Nestlé Health Science Company.

Professor School of Life Sciences, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL); former Director of the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC); Director of the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Molecular Oncology.

Chairman, Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Novartis and member of the Executive Committee of Novartis (ECN).

Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry, Collège de France, Paris, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.

Director of Research, Institut Curie, Paris, France.

Chief, Department of Internal Medicine and Specialties, Triemli Hospital Zurich, and Associate Professor, Medical Faculty, University of Geneva.

General Partner at Advent Venture Partners, London, UK.

Professor of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

Our Portfolio

Advanced Animal Diagnostics is an animal health diagnostics company, developing highly accurate, rapid on-farm diagnostics. The QScout® line of on-farm diagnostics will detect disease states at an early stage, and optimize management of the reproductive, nutritional and overall health status of production animals, beginning with the dairy cow. The company’s platform diagnostic technology is designed to enhance the profitability of livestock production, improve animal welfare, and ensure a safe, abundant supply of animal protein.

Aeglea is developing recombinant engineered human enzyme therapies to treat a number of cancer indications such as hepatocellular carcinoma, pancreatic adenocarcinoma, mesothelioma and melanoma. Aeglea’s portfolio of products includes engineered enzymes for the degradation of Arginine, Methionine, Cysteine and Cystine. Each of Aeglea’s products is coupled with a set of predictive biomarkers as part of an overall strategy to drive increased efficacy and patient benefit in a variety of oncology indications with significant unmet clinical need.

Aerpio is developing novel small molecule therapies to treat ophthalmic vascular diseases such as diabetic macular edema. Aerpio’s portfolio includes a broad array of HPTPbeta inhibitors that specifically restore signaling through the TIE2 pathway to promote vascular stabilization, improved endothelial function and reduced inflammation.

Aileron Therapeutics is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company that is developing first-in-class therapeutics based on its proprietary Stapled Peptide drug platform. Aileron aims to dramatically improve the treatment of a wide range of diseases, including cancer and metabolic and endocrine conditions, and positively impact the lives of millions of patients. Aileron’s lead drug development programs are its p53 reactivator for the treatment of cancer, ALRN-6924, and ALRN-5281, a long-acting, growth hormone releasing factor (GRF) for adult growth hormone deficiency that completed a Phase 1 clinical trial in 2013.

AMP was founded in 2009 as a spin-out of Prof. Ralf Hoffmann’s laboratory at the University of Leipzig and is developing the next generation of broad-spectrum Gram-negative antibiotics for the treatment of drug-resistant infections. It has been estimated that approximately 30-40% of all hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infections worldwide are caused by Gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative pathogens are highly genetically flexible and thus develop resistance mechanisms that render most of the current therapies ineffective.

Anokion is developing targeted therapeutics by retraining white blood cells to induce therapeutic antigen-specific immune tolerance. Their technology uses the body's natural immune regulation by engineering proteins to be perceived as "self" entities to treat autoimmune and allergic diseases and to reduce the immunogenicity of therapeutic proteins.

Applied Immune Technologies (AIT) is a drug development company specializing in T-Cell Receptor-Like (TCRL) antibodies that are targeted to intracellular-derived peptides for a variety of therapeutic and diagnostic applications. AIT is also focused on identification and validation of novel therapeutic targets.

Atlas Genetics is developing the ioTM platform, a highly novel molecular diagnostic system for the ultra-rapid diagnosis of a broad range of infectious diseases using either nucleic acid or immunoassays. The system is in series B development and is fast and ultra-sensitive, making it possible to carry out infectious disease tests in primary care clinics and GP surgeries that are as accurate as those carried out in hospital laboratories.

Autonomic Technologies (ATI) is developing a miniaturized implantable neurostimulation device to provide rapid relief from the debilitating pain and suffering caused by severe headaches such as cluster headaches and migraines.

Bicycle has a platform technology to create biotherapeutics combining features of small molecules and biopharmaceuticals. Bicycle Therapeutics is a spin-out from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology based on the work of the founding scientists Sir Gregory Winter and Prof. Christian Heinis.

BioNano Genomics has developed the Irys genome mapping platform using nanochannel technology to visualize whole genomes of any organism, including humans. By capturing extremely long DNA molecules at high resolution (hundreds of kilobases vs. single nucleotides), Irys delivers genome maps that provide novel insight into structural variation, such as translocations, amplifications and deletions, that underlies phenotypic variation. The Irys platform can reveal relevant mutations in complex genomes filling the gap between the available cytogenetics and next-generation sequencing/microarray technologies to further advance genome research.

eFFECTOR is pioneering a new class of small molecule drugs that act by selectively regulating translation (protein synthesis). The company unites novel insights into the mechanisms of translational control with a proven approach to product invention. eFFECTOR is pursuing selective translation regulators to restore homeostasis to the translation landscape, thereby reversing the consequences of disregulation and offering treatment for a variety of serious conditions.

Euthymics Bioscience is a privately held, clinical stage, biotherapeutic company that is focused on developing therapeutics that help patients achieve euthymia, which means "mood in the 'normal' range". The company’s lead compound, amitifadine, is in clinical development for alcohol abuse and depression.

F2G is a UK biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel drugs to treat life threatening fungal diseases. F2G is advancing its F3 series of anti-mould compounds. This is a novel class of anti-fungal agent, which acts through a completely new mechanism different from all currently marketed drugs. The F3 series displays highly potent activity against clinically relevant aspergilli and many other important pathogenic moulds.

Forendo Pharma is a drug discovery and development company with core competence in tissue specific regulation of sex hormone effects. Its two first-in-class product candidates are progressing to offer significant therapeutic benefits in men’s and women’s health.

Forma targets essential cancer pathways to create small molecule cancer therapies. Forma leverages the integration of its innovative drug discovery technologies and oncology expertise, enabling efficient screening, discovery and rational development of drug candidates with qualified cellular mechanisms of action. Forma is building a robust pipeline of cancer therapies in areas such as tumor metabolism, protein-protein interactions and epigenetics.

Galera is a clinical stage drug development company with a portfolio of small molecule superoxide dismutase activators. Superoxide, a product of normal cellular oxygen metabolism and certain environmental stresses, is harmful to DNA, RNA, proteins and lipids. This highly reactive molecule is managed by superoxide dismutases (SODs), but the SOD enzyme is deficient in certain disease states. Galera’s technology replaces this loss of function. The company is initially focusing on radiation-induced mucositis, cancer and pulmonary fibrosis.

Genedata provides computational solutions for drug discovery and systems biology research with a combination of software products and professional services that have been developed in partnership with major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

GenSight Biologics is focused on the development of gene therapies in ophthalmic diseases to prevent retinal degeneration in selected pathological conditions and to restore vision in patients suffering from very low vision or blindness.

ImagineAb’s has a proprietary antibody fragment platform that yields molecular information to guide treatment decisions in cancer and immunology by in vivo imaging. ImaginAb also collaborates with biopharmaceutical partners to design imaging agents as companion diagnostics for therapeutic antibodies.

Innocrin is a clinical stage pharmaceutical company developing novel, “best-in-class” oral, CYP17 lyase inhibitors for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and potentially other hormonally-driven conditions such as breast cancer, endometriosis, or congenital adrenal hyperlplasia.

Intersection is developing a device to help monitor and manage patients in acute decompensated heart failure. A large and growing cost driver for healthcare systems, acute decompensated heart failure and related hospital readmissions is a growing area of focus globally. Intersection looks to improve patient outcomes, inform the treatment paradigm, and reduce costs for healthcare systems.

Merganser Biotech is developing new medicines that increase hepcidin activity for the treatment of rare hematological and iron overload diseases. Hepcidin is the master regulator of iron metabolism and controls iron absorption from the diet and iron transfer around the body. Hepcidin deficiency causes iron overload, leading to heart and liver damage and may contribute to the severity of ineffective erythropoiesis and anemia in beta thalassemia. Merganser's hepcidin mimetic peptides prevent iron accumulation and reduce the severity of ineffective erythropoiesis in preclinical models of beta thalassemia.

Merus leverages its proprietary antibody platform to generate full length bi-specific IgG antibodies (Biclonics®) for oncology. The technology platform leverages fixed VL chains to produce functional monoclonal and bi-specific antibodies in a single cell. Merus has also developed an innovative transgenic mice platform (MeMo®) and state-of-the art phage display libraries of human Fab fragments to generate panels of common light change antibodies.

MyoPowers is developing a class III medical implant for the treatment of severe urinary incontinence in males and females, one of the largest under developed therapeutic areas today. MyoPowers aims to enter into CE-enabling clinical studies in 2014.

Nabriva is a specialist antibiotic company with a pipeline of innovative antibacterials for the treatment of serious infections in humans caused by multi-drug resistant pathogens.

Neomics Co., Ltd. (Neomics) is a drug discovery & diagnostics company with a unique cancer target and biomarker discovery platform. In particular, Neomics is focused on novel targets and biomarkers relevant to Aminoacyl tRNA synthetases (ARS). They have preclinical and clinical validation of their targets and biomarkers.

Neurovance is a biopharmaceutical company developing treatments for central nervous system (CNS) disorders. Neurovance’s clinical stage EB-1020 for adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a norepinephrine and dopamine-preferring triple reuptake inhibitor that is expected to be effective for adult ADHD without the addiction potential of other ADHD drugs.

Opsona is a drug development company focused on novel therapeutic and preventative approaches to inflammatory and related diseases. Opsona has a pipeline of therapeutics in advanced preclinical development that modulates the innate immune system, including biologics and small molecules that target TLR-2 and Nalp-3. Opsona has started Phase 2b clinical studies with the TLR-2 mAb to prevent delayed graft function in kidney transplant.

PharmAbcine develops fully human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases. PharmAbcine is a spin-out from Korea Research Institute of Bioscience & Biotechnology (KRIBB).

Proteostasis develops novel, small molecule therapeutics designed to control the body’s protein homeostasis, or Proteostasis Network. These therapeutics are designed to treat multiple genetic and degenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and cystic fibrosis.

Quartet Medicine is discovering and developing novel treatments for chronic pain and inflammation. Human genetics and preclinical target validation data point to increased tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) as a critical mediator of peripheral nerve dysfunction and immune cell regulation. Quartet is capitalizing on these insights by safely restoring BH4 homeostasis in neuronal and inflammatory cells.

Qurient is a spin-off biotechnology company from Institut Pasteur Korea (IP-K) committed to developing novel therapeutics against infectious diseases. Qurient’s main focus is on HIV, HCV and TB infection. Qurient has exclusive rights to develop and commercialize drug candidates discovered with IP-K’s proprietary state-of-the-art technologies including the PhenomicScreen™ and PhenomicID™ platforms.

Ra uses proprietary combinatorial assembly and in vitro display technologies to discover macrocyclic compounds with enhanced bioavailability targeting a wide range of intracellular, cell-surface, and circulating proteins. Ra’s initial focus is on orally available replacements for a variety of marketed biologics, as well as drugs targeting intracellular protein-protein interactions.

Symetis is successfully marketing a transapical catheter-mediated delivery system on the beating heart to insert stented mechanical valves for application in cardiac valve replacement.

Thesan is developing innovative therapeutics for dermatological applications. The company is currently developing topical applications of novel chemical entities against unexplored targets for atopic dermatitis and acne.

Trellis RSV Holdings is leveraging its proprietary CellSpotTM technology to deliver higher quality therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. The company has programs in infectious disease.

Vaxin is developing next generation vaccines to address significant public health and biodefense needs. By leveraging the attributes of its two independent and complementary vaccine delivery platforms, Vaxin is able to rapidly design vaccines against a wide range of disease targets including respiratory diseases, chronic infections and cancer.

Viamet is a clinical stage biotechnology company that discovers and develops “best-in-class” small molecule inhibitors of validated metalloenzymes via an innovative metal binding approach, its proprietary Metallophile® Technology. The company develops traditional small molecule compounds that exploit validated metalloenzyme targets in the field of infectious disease.

Annexon is developing disease modifying therapeutics to protect neuronal connections (synapses) that are lost in nearly all forms of neurodegenerative disease. Annexon's platform is focused on inhibiting C1q as the initiating molecule of the complement cascade responsible for aberrantly binding to functional synapses and triggering their elimination in neurodegenerative disease. This pathway is also well known to contribute to pathology in a number of autoimmune diseases of the nervous system. Annexon’s lead molecule, ANX005, effectively blocks this pathway and will have broad therapeutic application in both acute and chronic neurological diseases. Annexon’s initial focus will be in acute peripheral immune mediated disorders.


Our Successes

Ablation Frontiers

Acorda Therapeutics

Adenosine Therapeutics

Akebia Therapeutics

Alios BioPharma

Avila Therapeutics



Cequent Pharmaceuticals



Cytos Biotechnology

Discovery Technologies

EraGen Biosciences


Evolva Holding

Eyetech Pharmaceuticals

FoldRx Pharmaceuticals

GlycArt Biotechnology

Heptares Therapeutics, Ltd

Idenix Pharmaceuticals

Infinity Pharmaceuticals


IsoTis OrthoBiologics

Kinetix Pharmaceuticals

KuDOS Pharmaceuticals

LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals

Miikana Therapeutics




Silence Therapeutics

Sirtris Pharmaceuticals

Speedel Holding


Swiss Pharma Contract


Tokai Pharmaceuticals

Torrey Pines Therapeutics

Transform Pharmaceuticals



Akebia Therapeutics completed a public offering (NASDAQ: AKBA) in 2014.

Alios BioPharma was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2014.

Celladon completed a public offering (NASDAQ: CLDN) in 2014.

Covagen was acquired by Cilag CmbH, an affiliate of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, in 2014.

Tokai Pharmaceuticals completed a public offering (NASDAQ: TKAI) in 2014.

Okairos was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2013.

Avila Therapeutics was acquired by Celgene Corp. in 2012.

Intellikine was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. in 2012.

LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. In 2012.

Pharmasset was acquired by Gilead Sciences in 2012.

Cellerix completed a reverse merger into listed Tigenix BV (NYSE: TIG) in 2011.

EraGen Biosciences was acquired by Luminex Corporation in 2011.

Cequent Pharmaceuticals was acquired by MDRNA (now Marina Biotech) in 2010.

Evolva Holding completed a reverse merger into listed Arpida AG (SIX: EVE) in 2010.

FoldRx Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Pfizer, Inc. in 2010.

Neovacs completed a public offering (Alternext Paris: ALNEV) in 2010.

Ablation Frontiers was acquired by Medtronic, Inc. in 2009.

EsbaTech was acquired by Alcon in 2009.

Swiss Pharma Contract was acquired by Covance, Inc. in 2009.

Visiogen was acquired by Abbott Laboratories in 2009.

Adenosine Therapeutics was acquired by Clinical Data, Inc. in 2008.

Sirtris Pharmaceuticals completed a public offering (NASDAQ: SIRT) in 2007 and was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2008.

Speedel Holding completed a public offering (SWX: SPPN) in 2005 and was acquired by Novartis in 2008.

Acorda Therapeutics completed a public offering (NASDAQ: ACOR) in 2006.

Infinity Pharmaceuticals completed a reverse merger into Discovery Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: INFI) in 2006.

KuDOS Pharmaceuticals was acquired by AstraZeneca in 2006.

Heptares Therapeutics, Ltd was acquired by Sosei Group Corporation in 2015.

Miikana Therapeutics was acquired by EntreMed, Inc. (now CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) in 2006.

Syrxx was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. In 2006.

Torrey Pines Therapeutics completed a reverse merger into Axonyx (NASDAQ: TPTX) in 2006.

CombinatorRx completed a public offering (NASDAQ: CRXX) in 2005.

GlycArt Biotechnology was acquired by F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. In 2005.

Silence Therapeutics completed a public offering (LON: SLN) in 2005.

Transform Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2005.

Xenoport completed a public offering (NASDAQ: XNPT) in 2005.

Eyetech Pharmaceuticals completed a public offering (NASDAQ: EYET) in 2004.

Idenix Pharmaceuticals completed a public offering (NASDAQ: IDIX) in 2004.

Kinetix Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Amgen in 2004.

Theravance completed a public offering (NASDAQ: THRX) in 2004.

Cytos Biotechnology completed a public offering (SWX: CYTN) in 2002.

IsoTis OrthoBiologics completed a public offering (SWX: ISON) in 2000.

Discovery Technologies was acquired by Discovery Partners in 1999.


Alios BioPharma acquired by Johnson & Johnson for ~$1.75 billion

November 2014: Alios BioPharma, Inc. (Alios) was acquired by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) for ~$1.75 billion in cash, strengthening JNJ’s existing pipeline in viral diseases. The acquisition included Alios’s portfolio of potential therapeutics for viral infections including compound AL-8176, an orally administered antiviral therapy currently in Phase 2 studies for the treatment of infants with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Alios developed a novel proprietary nucleoside/tide library to identify therapeutics for the treatment of several viral infections including HCV, RSV, rhinovirus, norovirus, influenza and other emerging viral diseases.

Novartis Venture Fund was one of the original investors in Alios in 2009, participating in their Series A as well as successive financing rounds and was a member of the board of directors.


Covagen AG acquired by Cilag GmbH International, an affiliate of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

August 2014: Covagen AG was acquired by Cilag GmbH International, an affiliate of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, further strengthening Cilag’s immunology portfolio and capabilities. Covagen’s lead product, COVA 322, a bispecific anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha/anti-interleukin (IL)-17A FynomAb, is in Phase 1b study for psoriasis and holds potential as a treatment for a broad range of inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis. Covagen’s proprietary Fynomer platform creates fully human small binding proteins engineered to bind to target molecules with excellent affinity and specificity. Fynomers are fused to antibodies, creating FynomAbs, with tailored architecture and novel mode of action, these FynomAb therapeutics may offer enhanced efficacy in the treatment of a broad range of inflammatory diseases and other conditions. Financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Covagen was founded in 2009 with seed financing from Novartis Venture Fund and MP Healthcare Venture Management. Novartis Venture Fund continued to fund Covagen in the successive financing rounds and was a member of the board of directors.


Forma Therapeutics and Celgene Corporation Announce a Novel and Expansive Multi-Year Strategic Alliance for up to $600 million

March 2014: Forma Therapeutics and Celgene announced a second strategic collaboration and option agreement for up to $600 million that could lead to an acquisition by Celgene. Forma received an upfront cash payment of $225 million, and the parties entered into a collaboration with a term of 3 ½ years. Celgene has the option to enter into up to two additional collaborations with terms of two years each for additional payments totaling approximately $375 million. During the third collaboration term, Celgene will have the exclusive option to acquire Forma. The scope and potential duration of this collaboration, a total of 7 ½ years, allows the parties to comprehensively evaluate emerging target families covering a broad range of therapeutic areas for which FORMA’s platform has exceptional strength.

Novartis Venture Fund was the founding investor of Forma in 2008, has participated in successive financing rounds and is a member of the board of directors.

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Evaluation and Investment Process

We are stage agnostic (seed to commercial companies) and invest in multiple therapeutic areas where there is clear unmet medical need. Our first step in the process is to review non-confidential information about the company, team, technology / data, financial and exit plan. The further evaluation of business proposals is then based on confidential presentations by the management team that starts the full due diligence process.

Investments by the Novartis Venture Fund are made as equity participation typically as the lead or co-lead investor in a syndicate with a board seat.

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Please contact one of our offices closest to the company site for an initial review. We have offices in Basel, Switzerland and Cambridge, MA, USA and entrepreneurs should contact the office closest to their company.

Basel, Switzerland
Martina Blank
Office Manager
Novartis Venture Fund
c/o Novartis International AG
Postfach CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland
Phone: +41 61 324 32 67
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Claire McNulty
Office Manager
Novartis Venture Fund
355 Main Street, Suite 603
Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
Phone: +1 617 871 3536
For Media Inquiries, please contact:
Erik Petersen
Novartis Communications
Postfach CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland
Phone: +41 61 324 8738