0122 ECPs 2020
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Emerging Company Profile 

Technology showcase: BioCentury’s 2020 class of emerging companies

A snapshot of the next iteration of gene and cell therapies, gene editors, protein degraders and more

A snapshot of newcos shows where gene and cell therapies, targeted degradation, neurology and more are headed.

Jan 23, 2021 | 1:52 AM GMT

As emerging therapeutic modalities move toward mainstream, a flood of new companies has arisen to break through the limitations of first-generation technologies and expand the reach of gene and cell therapies, gene editing technologies, protein degraders and more across a wider swath of diseases. 

BioCentury profiled 119 start-ups in 2020, providing a snapshot of where innovators and investors are driving biotech’s leading edge.

BioCentury’s Emerging Company Profile series focuses on private biopharmas developing novel platforms or building first-in-class or best-in-class pipelines, that have emerged from stealth or raised their first venture rounds in the past five years. 

The analysis shows a preponderence of biotechs advancing existing technologies rather than pioneering new ones, in some cases improving platforms that have reached the market or late development, in others, upgrading technologies that have not yet reached proof of principle. 

For example, the newcos include biotechs pursuing platforms to enable redosing of gene therapies or with new engineering strategies for long-studied cytokines, such as IL-2 and IL-18, making for more potent and precise next-generation cancer therapies.

Several companies are revisiting NK cell therapies for cancer and Treg therapies for autoimmune diseases, arming them with modifications that could boost potency and make the cells easier to produce. 

Companies working on next-generation technologies before the first-generation is baked include those aiming to move CRISPR beyond genetic disruptions to genetic insertions, and expand targeted protein degradation to deploy mechanisms outside the proteasome.

Neurology, in particular neurodegenerative disease, continues to garner significant VC

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