Today Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, a portfolio company in both Arctic Aurora LifeScience and Arctic Aurora Biotech Select, has agreed to be acquired by Novo Nordisk for $3.3 billion, which means an 80% premium to Dicerna’s closing price on November 17, 2021.

Dicerna is one of the leading companies in RNA interference (RNAi), a Nobel Prize-winning technology. To understand the therapeutic potential of RNAi, we should dig deeper into the general causes of diseases. In many cases, diseases are caused by problems with proteins, the main building blocks of our biological processes. DNA is the blueprint of proteins in our cells, but to keep it safe, it is copied into mRNA, which serves as the actual plan to make proteins. With RNAi we can guide the cell’s own machinery to find and dismantle the mRNA of problematic proteins. If the plan is absent, the disease-causing protein will never be assembled. The technology has promising prospects in multiple disease areas, and Dicerna has a well-established platform to realize its full potential.

This acquisition also brings tremendous value to Novo Nordisk. Apart from gaining access to the RNAi platform, they can diversify their pipeline with Dicerna’s drug candidates in liver- and cardiometabolic diseases, while staying close to their area of expertise.

Other leading RNAi companies in our portfolios like Arrowhead and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals also went up 5-10% on this news, which shows the renewed commitment of large pharmaceutical companies to acquire small, innovative biotechnology companies.

Since its launch in 2016, this is the 15th takeout in the Arctic Aurora LifeScience fund, and already the 2nd in Arctic Aurora Biotech Select, which has been launched a bit more than 4 months ago.