10 Emerging Biotechs to Watch in 2023: Pioneering the Future of Life Sciences
The biotechnology landscape is constantly evolving with innovative companies making groundbreaking strides in science and medicine. In this article, we briefly delve into ten of the current set of very promising biotechs that are set to make a significant impact in 2023. These companies, backed by strong leadership and notable partnerships, are driving advancements in precision medicine, cell therapy, gene therapy, and more!
Established in October 2021 and based in Watertown, MA, Neumora Therapeutics has secured $400 million in Series A funding and an additional $112 million in Series B funding. With a focus on precision medicines for neurological disorders, Neumora has already amassed an impressive pipeline of eight clinical, preclinical, and discovery stage programs. This progress is due in part to a strategic partnership with Amgen, which has contributed a $100 million equity investment. Neumora’s clinical stage assets include NMRA-140 for major depressive disorder and NMRA-511 for anxiety disorders.
Odyssey Therapeutics, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, was launched in December 2021 with a $218 million Series A investment, followed by a $168 million Series B round. The company is committed to discovering and developing novel targets, with eight programs in immunology and oncology. Odyssey’s rapid expansion is reflected in its growing team of over 160 members. Under the leadership of serial biotech entrepreneur Gary D. Glick, Ph.D., the company is poised to make waves in the industry.
Affini-T Therapeutics made its public debut at the 2022 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, backed by a $175 million venture round from Vida Ventures and Leaps by Bayer. The Watertown, MA and Seattle, WA-based start-up is developing cell therapies using a T Cell Receptor (TCR) discovery engine and synthetic biology components. Affini-T’s platform targets KRAS, a prevalent oncogenic driver mutation found in solid tumors, particularly lung, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. A recent partnership with ElevateBio will help advance Affini-T’s oncogenic driver programs into clinical development.
Upstream Bio, located in Waltham, MA, was launched in June 2022 with $200 million in Series A funding. The OrbiMed-founded start-up focuses on the TSLP receptor, with its lead candidate UPB-101, a monoclonal antibody targeting the receptor for TSLP. This approach aims to address immune cells implicated in numerous inflammatory diseases. UPB-101 has already undergone a single ascending dose trial in healthy human volunteers, thanks to Astellas’ prior research.
San Diego-based Capstan Therapeutics, established in September 2022, has raised $165 million in Series A funding. The company’s unique approach combines cell therapy and genetic medicine, backed by investors like Novartis, Pfizer, Bayer, Eli Lilly and Company and Bristol Myers Squibb. Capstan’s targeted delivery platform aims to reprogram immune cells in vivo for the benefit of patients with cancer, fibrosis, inflammation-related diseases, and blood monogenic disorders. Preclinical studies have demonstrated potential against a fibrosis-related target.
Launched in August 2022 in Plymouth, MA, IDRx secured $122 million in Series A funding and formed alliances with Merck KGaA and Blueprint Medicines. The company is developing intelligently designed combinations to prevent cancer mutations. IDRx’s lead candidate, IDRX-42, licensed from Merck, is in Phase I trials for gastrointestinal stromal tumors. IDRx was incubated by serial biotech entrepreneur Alexis Borisy, who has played a pivotal role in launching companies like Relay Therapeutics and EQRx, the latter of which took the number two spot in BioSpace’s NextGen Bio Class of 2021.
Intergalactic Therapeutics, founded in October 2021 and based in Cambridge, MA, raised $75 million in Series A funding for its non-viral gene therapies targeting ophthalmology, hearing disorders, and vaccines. The company’s C3DNA platform seeks to overcome the size limitations of viral vectors, allowing the design and delivery of even the largest genes to target cells. Intergalactic is led by former Biogen EVP of R&D, Michael Ehlers, M.D., Ph.D., who oversaw the global filings and approvals for the spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) therapy Spinraza.
South San Francisco-based Septerna, Inc., launched in January 2022, secured $100 million in Series A funding. The company has since built out its leadership team, appointing Jeff Finer, M.D., Ph.D. as CEO, Liz Bhatt as COO, and Ran Xiao, CFA as VP of Finance and Business Operations. Septerna is leveraging its GPCR Native Complex™ platform to target the largest and most diverse family of cell membrane receptors, GPCR, aiming to treat previously untreatable diseases. The company is part of the Third Rock Ventures family, which also includes Editas Medicine, Faze Medicines, Asher Biotherapeutics, and Flare Therapeutics.
Ceptur Therapeutics, based in Hillsborough, NJ, launched in January 2022 with $75 million in Series A funding, backed by Bristol Myers Squibb, venBio Partners, and Qiming Venture Partners USA. The company is developing targeted oligonucleotide therapeutics based on U1 Adaptor technology, which controls gene expression at the pre-mRNA level within the nucleus, offering highly targeted mRNA regulation. Ceptur’s scientific advisory board includes RNA therapeutics veterans Steven Dowdy, Ph.D, Adrian Krainer, Ph.D., Henrik Oerum, Ph.D., and Thomas Tuschl, Ph.D.
Clade Therapeutics, founded in November 2021 and headquartered in Cambridge, MA, raised $87 million in Series A funding. The company, which has the backing of Bristol Myers Squibb, is developing scalable, off-the-shelf, next-generation stem cell-based medicines to treat cancer. Clade’s proprietary platform enables immune cloaking of induced pluripotent stem cells and differentiation of cloaked stem cells into therapeutic cells. Co-founder and CEO Chad Cowan, Ph.D. has co-founded Sana Biotechnology and has been involved in launching several other cell and gene therapy start-ups, including BlueRock Therapeutics, Vesigen Therapeutics, and NextGen Bio ’22 member Metagenomi.
These ten biotech companies are just a sample of those who are shaping the future of life sciences, developing groundbreaking therapies and technologies that hold the potential to revolutionize patient care. With strong leadership, strategic partnerships, and innovative approaches, these companies are some of the ones to watch in 2023 and beyond!