The European biotech industry is bustling with activity this year. Here’s a list of 20 European biotech companies likely to make a big splash in the biotechnology sector in 2022.
There were many memorable moments for the European biotech sector in 2021. Over the past year, investors and companies in the life sciences sector have been raising larger amounts of money than in previous years, bringing forth a new year full of potential.
In anticipation of an eventful year for the biotech industry, we have compiled a list of the top European biotech companies that have exciting developments to look forward to in 2022. The companies are listed in alphabetical order, and market cap values for publicly listed companies are up to date as of January 2022.
Location: Oxford, UK, & Boston, US
Arctoris is a company that leverages robotics and data science to accelerate the drug discovery process, responding to the need for more and better data to train new and better models. Arctoris has developed a technology platform to bring programs in oncology and neuroscience from idea to preclinical studies with higher efficiency. The company has a number of collaborations in this space, including a partnership with the R&D arm of the US technology giant IBM, IBM Research, to combine automation for biology with automation for chemistry.
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Market cap: €15.8B
The Dutch heavyweight argenx develops drugs inspired by llama antibodies. In 2021, the company received FDA approval for Vyvgart (efgartigimod), a treatment for the chronic autoimmune disease myasthenia gravis. The drug is awaiting approval in the EU and Japan, with decisions from the regulatory authorities expected in 2022. The drug is being trialed in a variety of immune conditions, which positions it as a potential multi-blockbuster.
Location: Mainz, Germany
Market cap: €62.5B
For a long time, BioNTech was a well-known company in the European biotech space for its work with a wide range of technologies including antibody drugs, CAR T-cell immunotherapies, and messenger RNA therapeutics. As the Covid-19 pandemic struck, BioNTech caught the attention of the general public when, together with its US partner Pfizer, it became the first to commercialize an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, driving RNA therapeutics into the mainstream in the process. In 2022, the company plans to start construction of an mRNA vaccine manufacturing site in Africa, obtain trial results for Covid-19 vaccines targeting virus variants, and start clinical trials in malaria and tuberculosis.
Location: Babraham, UK
The startup bit.bio has developed a precision engineering technology to reprogram human cells. This allows the company to create cell lines for medical research that can be consistently produced in industrial-scale quantities and with a significant reduction in manufacturing time, from months to days. In 2021, the company raised €88.9M ($103M) in one of the largest Series B rounds for the UK life sciences sector. The funds will be used to keep expanding the range of cell lines that the company produces, which currently include muscle cells and neurons.
Location: Saint-Beauzire, France
Market cap: €441M
In a world where plastic recycling and zero waste are becoming increasingly important, Carbios is developing ways to produce and recycle eco-friendly plastics. Using an enzyme technology, the company is able to recycle 100% of PET plastic waste to create plastic bottles. In 2021, Carbios completed the construction of a demonstration plant for its PET recycling technology, which has been fully operational since September. This year, the company will start the construction of an industrial-scale unit that will have the capacity to recycle 40,000 tons of PET waste per year.
6. Compass Pathways
Location: Altrincham, UK
Market cap: €844M
Compass Pathways is developing psychedelic treatments against clinical depression based on psilocybin, the main ingredient found in magic mushrooms. Psilocybin has been found to have long-lasting therapeutic effects in small studies, and it potentially has fewer side effects than traditional antidepressants. In 2021, the company completed a phase IIb study that showed a single dose of its treatment is effective in patients with treatment-resistant depression. Compass also launched a phase II trial testing the effects of this treatment in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.
7. CRISPR Therapeutics
Location: Zug, Switzerland
Market cap: €5.3B
CRISPR Therapeutics develops treatments based on the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9. Its most advanced program is a gene-edited stem cell therapy for the blood diseases sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia. With positive preliminary data from ongoing clinical trials, CRISPR Therapeutics and its US partner Vertex Pharmaceuticals are planning to apply for approval in late 2022.
Location: Tübingen, Germany
Market cap: €5.8B
CureVac has been developing a Covid-19 vaccine based on mRNA technology in partnership with GSK. In 2021, the company dropped its first-generation Covid-19 vaccine candidate and shifted its focus to a second-generation mRNA candidate that can generate a stronger immune response against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. CureVac expects its new vaccine candidate to enter phase I trial in 2022.
9. DNA Script
Location: Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France
The global Covid-19 pandemic has affected important processes in research and development, including the synthesis of DNA, which is mostly outsourced to third-party suppliers on an on-demand basis. DNA Script aims to decentralize supplies and reduce disruption from future pandemics by equipping labs with their own DNA printers. In 2021, the company raised €177M in a Series C financing round to boost the commercialization of this benchtop DNA printer.
Location: Glasgow, UK
EnteroBiotix is a startup developing treatments that target the human microbiome, which has been shown to be linked to a wide range of medical conditions. The company’s approach consists of transferring the gut microbes from a healthy person into a patient to address conditions affecting the liver and brain, as well as cancer. In 2021, EnteroBiotix raised €18M in a Series A fundraising, which will support expanding the team in 2022, and completed the construction of its manufacturing facilities.
Location: Niel, Belgium
A developer of mRNA technology, eTheRNA is working on a third-generation Covid-19 vaccine that can be effective against a wide range of virus variants. The company is expecting to launch human trials for this vaccine at the end of 2022, and will be launching several trials within its pipeline, which includes mRNA drug candidates for treating several forms of cancer and infectious diseases such as malaria and HIV.
Location: Oxford, UK
Market cap: €2.2B
Exscientia uses artificial intelligence to accelerate the drug discovery process, reducing the time it takes from years to months. In 2021, the company was the protagonist of a €452M IPO on the Nasdaq stock exchange. This year, Exscientia will have results from its first phase I trial, testing the potential of one of the company’s candidates as a treatment for cancer. The company is part of numerous drug discovery collaborations, including with Celgene, Bayer, Sanofi, and a UK initiative to develop drugs against Covid-19.
13. Gedea Biotech
Location: Lund, Sweden
Gedea Biotech is developing an antibiotic-free treatment for bacterial vaginosis, a common vaginal infection. The drug targets the vaginal microbiome by restoring the acidity in the vagina to healthy levels, preventing the infection from recurring. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the company saw a drop in the recruitment for its ongoing 150-patient clinical trial that was originally expected to yield results in 2021.
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Market cap: €22.8B
Genmab develops antibody drugs that recruit immune T cells to trigger an immune response against cancer cells. One of its marketed drugs is the blockbuster Darzalex, which it developed with the big pharma Janssen. In 2021, Genmab obtained approval for Tivdak, a cervical cancer treatment consisting of an antibody-conjugate drug. In 2022, Genmab and its partner J&J are expecting a decision from the FDA on the approval of teclistamab, an antibody drug for multiple myeloma.
15. Oryzon Genomics
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Market cap: €187M
Oryzon Genomics develops epigenetic drugs for the treatment of neurological diseases and cancer. In 2022, the company is expecting data readouts of several ongoing clinical trials targeting a range of conditions including acute myeloid leukemia, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia. Oryzon will also start a phase I/II trial testing a precision medicine approach to treating Kabuki syndrome, a rare neurological condition.
16. Phytoform Labs
Location: London, UK
Phytoform Labs is a biotech company using artificial intelligence and CRISPR/Cas9 genetic engineering to improve the performance of crops. In 2021, the company received a €5M investment for its technology development. In 2022, the company expects to bring its first product to market in North America and Australia; it will be a breed of tomato that isn’t damaged as easily when the weather is rough.
17. Solar Foods
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Solar Foods aims to produce food using just water, air, electricity, and bacteria. The result is solein, a protein-rich powder that can be added to any meal or used as a meat alternative. In 2021, the company submitted an application for approval of solein in the EU as a novel food. In 2022, Solar Foods plans to complete the construction of its manufacturing plant, which will have the capacity to produce up to 40 million meals per year, and launch its product globally. The company is also working with the European Space Agency to test the production of solein in space as a way to reduce waste and weight in long-distance space missions.
18. TreeFrog Therapeutics
Location: Bordeaux, France
TreeFrog Therapeutics seeks to improve the manufacturing of cell therapies, by making the process easier and cheaper. In 2021, the company received a €64M Series B investment that will be put towards international expansion. TreeFrog has started expanding its workforce and facilities; in 2022 the company will have doubled its lab capacity for the development and production of cell therapies derived from stem cells.
Location: Saint-Herblain, France
Valneva is a vaccine developer targeting infectious diseases. In 2021, the company released positive phase III results for what could become the first vaccine for chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, as well as promising phase III results for a Covid-19 vaccine. Regulatory authorities will be making a decision on the approval of both vaccines this year.
20. Valo Therapeutics
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Valo Therapeutics develops immunotherapy vaccines that consist of modified viruses that instruct immune T cells to attack a specific target. The company is also developing a vaccine that can target all coronavirus strains. In 2021, Valo raised €11M that will fund the final preparations for a phase I clinical trial of its lead cancer treatment. In 2022, the company is planning an IPO.
European biotech beyond 2022
The European biotech industry has been rapidly growing in recent years, rivaling the biotechnology sector of North America and Asia. The amount of funds raised by companies in the sector keeps growing every year, and in 2021, European biotech investors had a record fundraising year.
Going forward, we can expect funding in the biotech sector to keep growing. The Covid-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the societal value of medical biotech, fueling investment in this rapidly growing area. Meanwhile, growing consumer demand for sustainability is driving investment into agricultural and industrial applications of biotechnology.
We expect the companies listed here to drive the growth of the industry over the course of this year and beyond, developing innovative solutions for all sorts of applications together with their peers. In the longer term, we can expect biology to be a big part of many areas of our lives, bringing about a bioeconomy future. As the biotech sector keeps growing and transforming, we will be updating this list yearly to showcase the best biotech companies that can be found in Europe.