These are the top 10 biotech companies you will find in Munich, one of the hottest hubs for the biotechnology industry within Europe.
One of the largest cities in Germany, Munich is a hub for science and technology. Biotechnology is one of its many strengths, supported by strong academic research at the city’s two top universities: Ludwig Maximilian University and the Technische Universität München.
Most biotech companies in Munich are gathered in Martinsried, a suburb on the outskirts of the city that also hosts two prestigious Max Planck research institutes that specialize in biochemistry and neurobiology.
We asked experts to help us put together a list of the most remarkable biotech companies in this beautiful city, be it for their size, innovative technology, or influence in the biotech industry.
Morphosys is one of just a few biotech companies in Europe valued at over €1Bn. Founded in 1992, the company specializes in the development of antibody treatments for a variety of different conditions. In 2017, Morphosis launched its first antibody, Tremfya, which is used to treat psoriasis. The company has a pipeline of over 100 drugs covering areas such as cancer, dementia, infectious disease, and inflammation. Among its multiple partners are Novartis, GSK, Roche, and Bayer.
Medigene develops personalized cancer immunotherapies based on the ability of immune T cells to fight tumors. Its main focus is on TCR-T-immunotherapy, which consists of modifying T cells, making them carry a T-cell receptor that makes them identify and attack specific cancer antigens. Founded in 1994, Medigene is running clinical trials with two of its drug candidates for blood cancers, with three more programs expected to hit the clinic soon.
Immunic Therapeutics develops therapies for inflammatory and autoimmune conditions such as Crohn’s disease and psoriasis. Its most advanced drug candidate is being tested in phase II trials for multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis and the liver disease primary sclerosing cholangitis. The company started out in Munich in 2016, where it still carries out research and development, but since April its headquarters have moved to San Diego in the US.
Ethris develops treatments based on messenger RNA, a molecule that carries the instructions to make a therapeutic protein. The company specializes in modifying mRNA molecules to make them stable when delivered within the body, focusing on treating respiratory diseases such as primary ciliary dyskinesia and asthma. Founded in 2009, the company runs several research and development collaborations with big partners such as AstraZeneca.
iOmx Therapeutics develops cancer therapies that target ‘immune checkpoints’ that tumor cells manipulate to evade an attack from the immune system. Building on the success of approved checkpoint inhibitors, the company has identified a series of new potential targets that could expand the currently small percentage of cancer patients that benefit from these therapies. The company’s most advanced programs are at the preclinical stage.
Pieris focuses on developing drugs within the fields of immuno-oncology and respiratory disease. The company’s flagship technology consists of ‘anticalin’ proteins that can be engineered to target a specific molecule that is involved in a disease. Since its foundation in 2001, Pieris has built a large pipeline that has attracted partnerships with the likes of Servier in cancer and AstraZeneca in respiratory disease.
Founded in 1997, 4SC Pharma develops small molecule drugs to treat cancer. The company focuses on cancer epigenetics, developing drugs that inhibit the activity of proteins that modify the activity of genes within the cell, which is altered in cancer cells. Through this mechanism, the company expects the drugs not only to stop cancer, but to also enhance the immune response against the tumor. Two such drugs are currently being evaluated in clinical trials for blood cancers.
Founded in 1999, Proteros is a drug discovery company that looks into the interactions between proteins and small molecules to find drug candidates. The technology is based on work conducted by Nobel laureate Robert Huber and allows scientists to determine the three-dimensional structure of proteins, which can be used to identify the drugs that are most likely to target them effectively and safely.
ImevaX is a company founded in 2014 that develops diagnostics and vaccines against chronic and hospital-acquired infections. Its lead drug candidate aims to treat Helicobacter pylori infections, which cause stomach ulcers and cancer. The vaccine, which is currently being tested in a phase I trial, counteracts a molecule that the bacteria produce in order to evade the immune system.
Founded in 2008, AMSilk produces spider silk protein using engineered bacteria. The spider silk is then woven into a high-performance material that has a wide range of applications; AMSilk is working with Adidas on a biodegradable running shoe and with Airbus on lightweight materials for plane construction. Other potential uses include medical implants and vaccine delivery.