To celebrate the start of a new decade, we’ve gathered the names of the 20 European biotech companies that will be stealing the show in 2020.
With 2019 coming to an end, the biotech sector seems ready to enter the new year strong. Although the year started slow for biotech finances, the last quarter has seen a significant jump that analysts predict will extend onto 2020.
The European biotech industry has been gaining momentum and is now ready to make the most of the new decade. We consulted with experts to identify the 20 European companies across all areas of biotech that will be hitting key milestones and making headlines in 2020.
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland
AC Immune develops treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In a field that has recently been plagued with late-stage failures in trials targeting amyloid-beta proteins, the company presents an alternative approach that targets tau proteins instead. In 2020, AC Immune expects to release the first phase II data for an Alzheimer’s therapy against tau proteins, as well as a €27M milestone payment from its partner, Eli Lilly, as part of another program.
Location: London, UK
In October, London-based company GammaDelta Therapeutics announced the creation of the spinout company Adaptate Biotherapeutics. While GammaDelta focuses on developing cell therapies making use of a rare type of immune cells called gamma delta T cells, Adaptate will take over the development of antibody therapies that can control the activity of these gamma delta T-cells.
Location: Abingdon, UK
Adaptimmune specializes in the development of T-cell therapies to treat cancer. In 2019, the company reported positive data from a phase I trial testing its lead T-cell therapy in cancer patients with the soft tissue cancer known as synovial sarcoma. In 2020, the company will be expecting data from a phase II trial that will be the first to test a next-generation treatment in multiple types of solid tumors.
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
A spin-off from Shell, Avantium develops plant-based renewable bioplastics that offer an alternative to petrochemical sources. In 2019, the company built a 10-ton demonstration plant to produce monoethylene glycol, a compound used to make plastic bottles among other products. In 2020, Avantium plans to raise around €150M to fund the development of a new plant to produce other compounds needed to make plastic products.
Location: Mainz, Germany
BioNTech specializes in the development of immuno-oncology treatments across a range of different technologies. After a €140M Nasdaq IPO in October 2019, the company is getting ready to start six first-in-human clinical trials in 2020 as well as additional late-stage trials. Next year, BioNTech will also be reporting data from clinical trials testing its messenger RNA technology in patients with triple negative breast cancer, melanoma, and solid tumors.
Location: St-Beauzire, France
Carbios is developing an enzymatic technology to be able to fully degrade and recycle plastics. In 2019, the company partnered with the enzyme manufacturer Novozymes to produce biodegradable plastics that are made of 100% recycled plastic. In 2020, the partners are expecting the launch of a range of plastic products fully biodegradable under any environmental conditions, just in time for the enforcement of the EU’s recently approved ban on single-use plastics.
Location: Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium
Celyad is working on the development of a new generation of CAR-T cell therapy that can be obtained from donors rather than manufactured individually for each patient. In November 2019, the company released the first clinical data testing this off-the-shelf approach in solid tumors, providing some interim insights into the efficacy of the therapy. In 2020, Celyad expects to have more detailed data from this trial and to start a new phase I trial with another CAR-T therapy in its pipeline. The company might also be seeking funding to keep its clinical programs running until the end of the year.
Location: Zug, Switzerland
Pioneering the first wave of treatments based on CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, CRISPR Therapeutics released the first preliminary data in humans testing this technology in patients with genetic blood disorders at the end of last year, with full results expected next year. In 2020, the company expects to be running no less than five clinical trials in parallel. In addition, early next year the European Patent Office will be holding an appeal hearing regarding the famously disputed patents of CRISPR Therapeutics’ US competitors that will determine the intellectual property status of CRISPR technology in Europe.
Location: Manchester, UK
F2G is a British-Austrian company that develops antifungals. There is currently a restricted range of antifungal classes available, and the development of new solutions is urgently needed to meet the growing challenge of antimicrobial resistance. One of just a few companies in the field, F2G is expecting results in 2020 from a phase IIb trial testing its lead drug candidate in patients with fungal infections that have no alternative treatment options.
Location: Lund, Sweden
Follicum develops peptide drugs intended to treat hair loss and diabetes. In 2020, the company plans to start a phase I trial with a drug that has shown potential to stimulate the secretion of insulin and delay the onset of type 1 diabetes. Follicum is also preparing for the start of a phase II trial testing its hair growth treatment.
Location: Loos, France
Genfit develops treatments for metabolic and liver conditions. After a €120M fundraising in 2019, the company is expecting results from a phase III trial in the first quarter of 2020. The trial is testing its lead candidate drug, elafibranor, in patients with the chronic liver disease non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). If the trial is successful, the drug could become one of the first treatments to ever be approved for this condition, which would give Genfit access to an enormous market.
Location: Paris, France
GenSight Biologics develops gene therapies to treat genetic forms of blindness. In 2019, the company announced it would be seeking regulatory approval for its lead candidate therapy despite having failed to prove it was superior to the placebo treatment in a recent phase II trial. The company has been building up data supporting the fact that the effects of the therapy given in one eye extended to the one that was given the placebo, and will file for EMA approval in the third quarter of 2020. The company also expects to announce a new fundraising next year.
Location: Vienna, Austria
Hookipa Biotech develops immunotherapies for infectious diseases and cancer. In 2019, the company raised around €100M from a Series D round and a Nasdaq IPO. In 2020, Hookipa is expecting results from a phase II trial testing whether its lead vaccine candidate is able to prevent infections and complications in patients receiving organ transplants from donors infected with cytomegalovirus. The company will also start a phase I/II trial with a therapy for cancers caused by the human papillomavirus
Location: Lyon, France
MaaT Pharma develops treatments made of living bacteria that seek to improve the outcome of cancer treatments by preventing the destruction of the gut microbiome. In 2020, the company expects results from two clinical trials, a phase I in patients treated with chemotherapy, and a phase II in patients who suffer complications after a bone marrow transplant. We can probably expect MaaT Pharma to be completing a new fundraising round next year.
Location: Delft, The Netherlands
Meatable is developing a technology to scale up the production of lab-grown meat. While other players in the field with more advanced programs are mainly focusing on producing alternatives to beef, Meatable raised a €9M Series A in December that will allow the company to create its first lab-grown pork prototype by summer of 2020.
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Orphazyme develops therapies for rare diseases that impair the correct folding of proteins, and therefore their function. In 2020, the company will be filing for its first marketing authorization, concerning a treatment for Niemann-Pick disease, in both Europe and the US. Orphazyme also expects to be reporting results from a phase II trial in Gaucher disease.
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Oryzon Genomics focuses on the development of epigenetic drugs to treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Over the course of 2019, the company has released positive clinical data from trials in leukemia and lung cancer patients, as well as in Alzheimer’s disease. In 2020, the company will be awaiting additional phase IIa results from ongoing trials across all these indications.
Location: Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium
Promethera develops cell therapies based on human liver cells and raised €47M in 2019 to support ongoing clinical trials. In the first half of 2020, the company will be expecting the results of a phase IIa clinical trial testing its technology to treat non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a liver condition with an enormous market for which there is yet no approved treatment. While others in the NASH space are more advanced, Promethera is proposing a much more innovative approach intended to address the complexity of this condition.
Location: Paris, France
Targedys develops treatments to modulate appetite by addressing their gut microbiome. Early in 2020, the company is expecting results from a clinical trial testing the effect of a live bacterial therapy on the weight of overweight people. After a €10M Series A round in 2019, the company plans to begin fundraising for Series B in 2020.
Location: Paris, France
Ynsect seeks to provide an eco-friendly alternative to produce food and feed from insects. In 2019, the company raised a €110M Series C round to fund the construction of the world’s largest automated insect farm. In 2020 the company expects to get approval in the EU to use insects in chicken feed and in fertilizers, as well as for certain species to be used for human consumption.