The mRNA firm Normax Biomed snagged Europe’s biggest private biotech investment in July 2022, with runners-up including AgomAb and Tropic Biosciences.
Life sciences manufacturing companies saw a big windfall in Europe in July 2022 as the Cork-based Normax Biomed bagged around $301 million. The firm is establishing modular manufacturing facilities that could provide mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases at a lower price point than that of currently available mRNA vaccines.
The cash came from the Luxembourg-based investment fund Global Emerging Markets, and precedes a planned IPO from Normax. Vaccines in Normax’s pipeline include candidates that protect against COVID-19, tuberculosis, HIV and malaria.
A $40.5 million Series B round raised by AgomAb came in second place in Europe. The Belgian firm is developing small molecule and antibody drugs to regenerate scarred tissue caused by metabolic, inflammatory and fibrotic conditions such as Crohn’s disease.
In third place, the industrial biotechnology firm Tropic Biosciences pocketed $35 million in Series C cash. The U.K. company will use the proceeds to fund technology to speed up the development of crop varieties that are more efficient and resistant than current crops. To achieve this, the firm uses gene editing tools to exploit a process in the cell called RNA interference (RNAi), which controls which genes are expressed as proteins.
The king of the Series A rounds was the Israeli firm Phytolon, which raised $14.5 million to fund the development of food colorants that are produced more sustainably than current products. Meanwhile, the French firm Core Biogenesis raised $10.5 million to finance its push to manufacture cell therapy ingredients in oilseed crops; a process called molecular farming.
Leading the seed rounds, CardiaTec Biosciences bagged $1.7 million in the U.K. The company is setting up a drug discovery platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to sift through cardiovascular omics data from patients and find the best targets for treatments for cardiovascular conditions.
Another AI player bagged the next-biggest early-stage biotech investment in Europe. Based in Poland, Deepflare aims to speed up the development of mRNA vaccines with the help of AI. The company was launched in 2020 to initially develop a new generation of tests for COVID-19, and soon turned its attention to the development of vaccines for infectious diseases.
While public markets remain depressed in the biotech sphere, a major European company has opted to list later this year: the Dutch company NewAmsterdam Pharma Holding. The company announced a merger agreement with Frazier Lifesciences Acquisition Corporation, which is a special purpose acquisition company designed to infuse a private company with cash and take it public.
According to the merger deal’s terms, NewAmsterdam Pharma expects to rake in $235 million; cash which is tough to come by for late-stage biotech companies in general.