The companies Tempus Labs, Oculis and VectorBuilder Biotechnology bagged the biggest biotech investments in October 2022. Oncology and biomanufacturing research attracted the biggest funding rounds.
We’re heading for the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and biotech fundraising is still ticking away despite adverse market conditions.
We’ve gathered the biggest biotech investments that went to private companies around the world in October, split into healthcare and industrial biotechnology-focused verticals.
The U.S.’ top private biotech healthcare investment went to the company Tempus Labs. The firm took home a $275 million private round to finance the development of precision medicine approaches to treat a range of conditions including cancer. For example, Tempus is using artificial intelligence to track the progress of a disease and recruit patients into clinical trials.
In second place, the little-known biotech startup Treeline Biosciences revealed a $261 million private round to fund oncology research, though few details are known about its specific tools to treat cancer.
In Europe, the top biotech healthcare investment round went to Oculis in Switzerland. The ophthalmology player raised a private investment and private placement worth around $80 million as it prepares to merge with the special purpose acquisition company European Biotech Acquisition Corp. This will effectively take Oculis public on the Nasdaq without launching an initial public offering (IPO).
Second place was a close contest between Univercells in Belgium and Nucleome Therapeutics in the U.K. Univercells specializes in the manufacture of biologic drugs, while Nucleome is developing treatments for autoimmune diseases based on its maps of the so-called “dark matter” of the human genome.
Topping the healthcare biotech investment list in Asia-Pacific, the U.S.-Chinese player VectorBuilder Biotechnology raised $58 million in October. The company is developing technology to assist the development of gene therapies, such as viral vectors and gene editing tools.
In second came the Chinese firm Junhemeng Biopharmaceutical, harnessing a $28 million round to fund the development of protein drugs for a range of diseases.
Other life sciences investments
Outside of the healthcare sector, biotech companies raised big investments to advance technology that shores up food security and the circular economy.
In this space, the U.S.’ biggest investment round went to the agricultural biotechnology firm Inari. The company bagged $124 million to finance its push to gene-edit crops that require fewer resources to grow than current varieties.
In Europe, the U.K. food technology company Hoxton Farms led the rankings. The startup’s $22 million Series A round will be used to finance the construction of a pilot plant to product lab-grown fat, which could replace fat sourced from unsustainable animal farming.
Close behind Hoxton Farms, the bioinformatics specialist Eagle Genomics and agricultural specialist Neoplants each bagged $20 million.
As usual, the Asia-Pacific region saw fewer industrial biotech funding rounds than Europe and the U.S. Headlining for the region was Juwei Yuanchang, a firm converting waste plant matter into valuable commodities such as biomaterials and industrial chemicals.
Aside from private funding rounds, the biotech industry saw some interesting moments in October. One was the $10 million debut funding round of the Australian biomedical company incubator Proto Axiom. While Australia has its own crop of innovative companies, Proto Axiom aims to keep biotech IP in the country, where it can benefit its domestic base.
In the public markets, biotech stocks have been in a long bear market. However, some analysts see a more hopeful quarter ahead as investors see the increasing opportunities of suppressed company valuations.