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John Mcconnico | Bloomberg | Getty Images A lab technician at Pharma Novo Nordisk conducts in vitro research in Malov, Denmark.

Big Pharma’s billion-dollar scramble to invest in start-ups to fuel innovation

  • The worldwide prescription drug market is growing at 6.5% compounded annually and is expected to reach $1.06 trillion by 2022.
  • Start-ups are driving pharma innovation, accounting for 63% of all new prescription drug approvals over the last five years, HBM Partners reports.
  • Drug companies have established venture capital funds and incubators to invest in promising start-ups working on new drug technologies.

Novo Holdings’ recent launch of a $165 million venture fund focused on tackling “superbugs” resistant to modern antibiotics demonstrates the paradigm shift occurring in Big Pharma.

Novo’s Repair Impact Fund

Repair stands for Replenishing and Enabling the Pipeline for Anti-Infective Resistance — will invest $20 million to $40 million in start-ups and early stage companies in the United States and Europe that have new approaches to combat bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health.

New approaches to combat antimicrobial resistance urgently need to be developed. Already, more than 700,000 people die each year from infections resistant to most or all antibiotics, and the number is increasing by the day. Antimicrobial resistance is projected to kill more people than cancer by 2050, which would reduce global economic output by between 2 percent and 3.5 percent and severely cripple modern medical and surgical advances.

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