COVID-19 has shone an unprecedented spotlight on the pharmaceutical industry and investment in to Pharma and BioTech scale-ups has increased at pace. The sector has verifiably safeguarded the lives of millions across the world and has had a transformative effect on modern medicine. At no time has this been truer than during the pandemic, with pharma companies working tirelessly to diagnose, treat, and prevent infections from the virus.
With the public watching, reading, and listening more intently on drug development and pharma than ever before, it is no surprise that the global pharmaceutical market is now valued at $1.27 trillion, up from just $390 billion in 2001.
Below, we have pulled together a list of the most impressive pharma scale-up businesses, all of whom embody innovation at its finest.
Founded in 2013, BioAscent is a leading provider of integrated drug discovery services, based in Scotland. Its services include de novo assay development, bespoke screening strategies, medicinal and synthetic chemistry, and compound management. The company’s team of expert scientists have experience successfully working in assay development, preclinical and clinical candidates across all biological target classes, and major therapeutic indications.
The firm’s stellar growth is driven by its drug discovery business, which saw revenues rise by sixty percent last year, as well as the doubling of its commercial compound management business over the last two years. Working with small biotechs and major pharma alike, BioAscent has seen a significant increase in its venture-backed biotech client base.
At the outset of the pandemic, the firm helped set up the Scottish Government’s Covid facility in Glasgow, providing on-site technical expertise in high-throughput screening, assay development, and sample logistics.
Sygnature Discovery is a world-leading integrated drug discovery and non-clinical solutions provider, offering expertise across a broad range of therapeutic areas and biological target classes. The company’s unique approach to laboratory working – with multiple disciplines co-located on the same research site in the same laboratories – is key to its success in advancing customers’ drug discovery projects into clinical development, with a distinctive synergy of chemistry, bioscience, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, computational design and in vivo pharmacology.
Sygnature Discovery has had great success over the past few years, with the opening of a second office in the US and significant investment from Five Arrows Principal Investments.
Immunocore, based in Oxford, deliveries biological therapies that have the potential to transform the lives of people with serious diseases including cancer. A commercial-stage T cell receptor biotechnology firm, Immunocore is working to develop and commercialise a new generation of transformative medicines to address unmet needs in cancer, infector, and disease. Clinical trials are currently underway for the company’s lead programme, a potential treatment for a rare form of eye cancer.
In January 2021 Immunocore revealed a £55m Series C funding round and the closing of a £74m senior secured loan facility with Oxford Finance LLC.
Quotient Sciences is a drug development and manufacturing accelerator providing integrated programmes and tailored services across the entire development pathway. Cutting through silos across a range of drug development capabilities, the firm saves time and money in getting drugs to patients.
Quotient Sciences is driven by a customer-first ethos and an unswerving belief that ideas need to become solutions, and molecules need to become cures, fast. The firm employs an impressive 1,300+ staff members, who operate from manufacturing and clinical facilities in the US and UK.
In August 2021, Quotient Sciences announced a 6.3-million-pound investment in its recently acquired manufacturing facility in Alnwick. The investment is set to significantly expand the firm’s drug substance manufacturing capability and to create 80 new jobs over the next three years.
A clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge, Bicycle Therapeutics is pioneering the development of Bicyclic (bicycles) peptides, a novel class of versatile, chemically synthesized medicines. Bicycles represent a unique therapeutic class, combining the pharmacological properties normally associated with a biologic with the manufacturing and pharmacokinetic advantages of a small molecule, yet with no signs of immunogenicity observed to date.
The company’s strategic collaborations are based on the ability of Bicycles to address a wide variety of targets. Through collaborations with AstraZeneca, Oxurion, Innovate the UK, and the Dementia Discovery Fund, Bicycle Therapeutics works with companies that have deep therapeutic expertise outside of oncology to more efficiently develop novel medicines for patients.
Formerly known as Eravaxx, Enara Bio is a science-led company targeting the T-cell/cancer cell interface to develop new targeted cancer immunotherapies designed to treat a broad patient population. Founded in late 2016, the company’s focus is on discovering and developing cancer vaccines utilising novel antigens derived from endogenous retroviral (ERV)-related DNA sequences.
The firm is now exploring the hidden depths of cancer and T-cell biology to discover and characterize unconventional immunotherapy targets, such as MR1-presented ligands and Dark Antigens™, which arise from the altered cellular processes in cancer cells.
Enara Bio is backed by leading life science investors, including RA Capital, Samsara Biocapital, and SV Health Investors. It collaborates with several world-class academic institutions including the Francis Crick Institute, Cardiff University, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and the University of Oxford, to help drive our differentiated science.
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