Biotech is booming.
Many of the best-selling drugs we’ve seen in recent years have been produced by biotech companies. There’s a huge amount of potential for biotech startups to solve challenges in the world, such as by developing innovative drugs and foods to help us become healthier.
Is the U.S. the leading country in biotech?
The U.S. is leading the global pack when it comes to biotechnology, and it generates more than 112 billion dollars of revenue, as Statista reports. Many of the best biotech companies originate there.
In addition to the above, the U.S. pharmaceutical market accounts for 45 percent of the entire global market! With that in mind, let’s jump right into this list of seven of the best biotech startups you should know about.
We’ll start with a company that’s striving to change the process of disease diagnosis forever.
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Seven Of The Best Biotech Startups
Thrive Earlier Detection
The world of healthcare is becoming focused on preventing illnesses instead of just merely treating them, so a biotech company that promises to produce innovations that enable us to do this will surely get our attention. Enter Thrive Earlier Detection!
Thrive Earlier Detection is a biotechnology company located in Massachusetts that strives to be at the frontline of cancer disease diagnosis and prevention.
It’s focused on detecting cancer earlier than what was previously possible, and solves the problem that’s present in healthcare when it comes to only a few cancer screening tests being available for certain types of the disease.
With its CancerSeek innovation, multiple types of cancer can be found – all from one simple blood sample! These include ovarian, liver, and pancreatic cancer.
As mentioned on the company’s website, CancerSeek has performed well so far, with more than 99 percent specificity and median 70 percent sensitivity when evaluating cancer types. In 2020, the company raised $257 million to help move its product through clinical trials and hopefully gain FDA approval.
While this idea in itself is exciting, a test such as CancerSeek could become part of routine health screenings, which could totally revolutionize the way we approach healthcare while helping doctors to prevent cancer deaths.
Based on all it’s already achieved, it’s surprising to note that Thrive Earlier Detection was only launched in 2019! It’s definitely a startup to watch!
Cerevel Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company that’s working on developing innovative therapies to treat central nervous system (CNS) disorders.
Founded in 2018 as a result of a partnership between Bain Capital and Pfizer, this company is definitely one to watch. It has a revenue of $5 million. In addition to that, Bain Capital Private Equity and Bain Life Sciences have given $350 million to the company.
Cerevel is concentrated on finding innovative therapies for many types of illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. To add more credibility to the company, it’s built on a team that’s made up of senior leaders and neuroscience drug developers.
Some exciting research that the company is currently developing includes Phase 3 testing for a drug called Tavapadon to improve motor function in patients with Parkinson’s disease. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Cerevel is committed to being on the cutting edge of technology, and one of the ways in which it’s doing this is by using artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to identify new therapeutic molecules with disease-modifying potential.
This is a game-changer for how neuroscience drugs can be found and developed in the future, especially because of how big AI is set to be.
AI is one of the biggest innovations set to expand, with predictions showing that the AI market in healthcare will grow to $6.6 billion by 2021, Doc Wire reports.
Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Anthos is a biotech startup that was established in 2019.
It’s focused on helping high-risk cardiovascular patients. The company is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that’s developing and commercializing new and innovative therapies for these patients.
Since cardiovascular problems are so common, with 2018 stats showing that 30.3 million U.S. adults have been diagnosed with heart disease, as Healthline reports, this biotech company is sure to make a real difference in many people’s lives.
Anthos has already grabbed everyone’s attention due to how it has started making waves in the development of drugs for heart-related problems – and best of all, it started doing this immediately upon its entry into the industry.
What happened was that a drug known as MAA868 to fight blood clots entered the preclinical and early-phase trial of drug development by biotech company Novartis, but then studies were withdrawn.
Anthos arrived and took over. The company continued working on developing this drug, and that’s a really good thing because it could potentially prevent many cardiovascular disorders.
Anthos boasts partnerships with big names in the business, with an example being Lonza, a Swiss biotechnology company that’s helping Anthos develop as well as manufacture an antibody treatment for blood clots.
Located in California, Mirum Pharmaceuticals was established in 2018. The company has been focused on finding innovative medicines to treat rare liver diseases, such as Alagille syndrome (ALGS) and progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC).
Mirum has already achieved positive Phase 2 trial results for the treatment of both of these diseases.
Mirum is advancing their main drug candidate, known as maralixibat, for both diseases. The company also has leading experts in liver disease and pharmaceutical development on board to help them along.
In December 2019, Mirum Pharmaceuticals experienced a 240.1 percent boost in its shares, thanks to how investors were positively responding to the milestones the company has taken, such as with its experimental treatment for children who have rare liver disease, as Motley Fool reports.
It will be interesting to see what they do next!
Let’s take a quick glance outside of the U.S. biotech industry and head to Finland. Maybe you’ve seen the protein powder that was released by Solar Foods called “Solein.” Whether you have or not, there’s so much more to know about it and this inspiring company.
Solar Foods is a Finnish food technology company that was established in 2017 to find and develop innovations for food production. It produces food that’s rich in protein but what’s more interesting than that is that it’s made from air, water, and electricity that are laced with bacteria!
This Finnish startup company is even working with the European Space Agency to develop this game-changing technology to supply food to astronauts who are on long space missions.
In 2019, EU Startups listed Solar Foods as one of the European biotech startup companies to watch.
With our focus moving towards more sustainable food production to alleviate climate change and protect our world’s resources, Solar Foods is certainly a startup that could improve our health and that of the planet.
This is another biotechnology company that’s focused on bringing more sustainable food into our lives, but it’s located in Boston, U.S.A. Motif Foodworks was founded in 2018. It’s a company that works on providing plant-based foods to the public but with the innovation and benefit of technology.
People who work at Motif Foodworks apply the latest technology to try to make food healthier and more delicious. The company is developing meat and dairy alternatives that will taste just as good as the real things but without causing damage to the environment.
Motif Foodwork isn’t doing it alone: it has support from various partners, such as the University of Queensland and Ginkgo Bioworks, a biotech company that designs custom microbes for various markets.
In June 2020, Motif Foodworks teamed up with the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to gain a better understanding of the sensory experience of plant-based foods to enrich its research.
Other exciting developments that the company is currently working on include replacing animal-based saturated fats with animal-free emulsion systems that share the same physical properties of that fat, as well as improving the texture of plant-based cheese so that it’s more elastic in texture, as Food Navigator reports.
Located in New York, this 2017-established biotechnology company entered the market in that year with $54 million financing.
Gotham Therapeutics is involved in small molecule drug design in the biopharmaceutical field. It strives to develop new and innovative ways to treat various diseases, such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
The company’s research is based on the work of co-founder Sami Jaffrey, a professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medicine who concentrates his efforts on RNA metabolism known as epitranscriptomics.
To better understand all this, RNA is similar to DNA, and one type of it known as messenger RNA is a code that cells in the body use to convert information that’s stored in DNA into a set of instructions that cells can “read” in order to make proteins.
The realization that RNA is closely linked to DNA and can also be modified resulted in the field of epitranscriptomics!
So, when researchers discovered that RNA can also be tweaked and modified like DNA and that chemical changes in a cell’s RNA can be distorted in the presence of some cancers, this caused some biotech companies to work on this research – and Gotham was one of them!
Gotham Therapeutics has also joined forces with two big-name investors, Celgene and Alexandria Venture Investments, to further its research and development in this exciting field.
Five Reasons Why Biotech Startups Fail And How This Can Be Prevented
Biotech business is expanding, but the industry is tough.
While there aren’t many stats related to how many new biotech companies fail on a yearly basis, it’s scary to consider that 90% of all new startups fail, as Review 42 reports. What makes a biotech startup battle to survive and thrive? Let’s explore five reasons.
A Lack Of Expert Management
If the management of a biotech company isn’t effective, this can lead to its failure. Experienced people need to be included in the company’s management as soon as possible so that they can use their valuable skills to help the biotech company thrive.
The use of mentors and specialists outside of the company should also be consulted. You can see how successful biotech companies do this by teaming up with renowned institutions and partners. It has the extra benefit of giving them greater credibility in the industry.
Not Focusing On Unmet Needs
Many biotech companies focus on areas where there’s an unmet need. For example, in the medical field, biotech companies will often put their efforts into finding treatments and potential cures for rare diseases. This gives them an edge in the industry.
In addition to the above, the need for strong research to prove that the drug or therapy will be effective is important to prevent company failure.
Again, it’s about finding a need that’s present in the market and then having the specific goal to try to meet it. This fine-tuning of the company’s goal also makes it easier for the startup to find partners.
Focusing Too Much On Research
While research is obviously an important part of biotech companies and their success, it’s also important to know when to stop trying to make a success of a particular drug or innovation because it’s just not providing results. This can save time and money.
While the above is important to remember, it’s equally important for biotech companies to ensure that they deliver consistent milestones in the development of their innovations.
This will keep investors, who want to see results, happy. So, it’s really about striking a balance. Again, expert assistance can be very valuable in this regard.
Waiting To Receive Funding
Funding can obviously help a biotech company when it enters the industry, but one of the mistakes that many startups make is waiting to receive funding.
No matter how amazing the idea is that has inspired people to start their biotech company, it’s important for them to do market research, write up a business plan, and find co-funders as soon as possible.
If companies don’t take a risk by jumping into setting up their companies, how can they ever expect investors to do the same thing?
Besides, when they work hard on setting up and developing their company, this will show investors that they have the mettle to succeed. It also shows that they have passion and commitment for both the company and their innovations.
Not Considering Intellectual Property
Intellectual property is an important issue but many biotech companies don’t consider it enough, especially when they start out. This can have stressful consequences in the future because intellectual property is tied into the company’s drug candidates from early on in their development.
Questions such as, “How strong is the patent protection?” and “How will the patents stay strong against challenges from generic companies?” are really important to think about as soon as possible, as Fierce Biotech reports.
Patents are very important for companies because of how focused on research the entire sector is and patents are valuable for investors because they reduce their risk.
Where in the U.S. are most biotech companies based?
Is there such a thing as a gene patent?
A gene patent is exclusive rights to a specific sequence of a gene (DNA) that is awarded to an organization, corporation, or even an individual who has been the first one to identify it. These rights are given by the government.
How much does it cost for biotech companies to develop drugs?
It’s really expensive to develop a drug because the idea for it has to be transformed into a viable drug candidate, and this process can be long. The average cost for developing a new drug is between $10-$100 million, as Forbes reports.
We regularly see many biotech startups in the news that grab our attention. But what are they really about and how can they change our future in the most meaningful ways?
To discover this and more, in this article we’ve looked at seven biotech startups which we should focus on as they’re working on exciting and life-changing innovations to improve our health and wellbeing. There’s no doubt about it: the future is biotech.