Top 20 Life Science Startups to Watch in 2019

NextGen 2019

 

BioSpace is proud to present its NextGen Bio “Class of 2019,” a list of 20 up-and-coming life science companies in North America that launched* no earlier than 2017.

The NextGen Bio Class of 2019 is a stellar group of companies that are already making an enormous impact on the industry now and will continue into the future. Congratulations to this group!

RANK
COMPANY
LAUNCHED
LOCATION
POINTS
1
Allogene Therapeutics
2018
California
59
2
Gossamer Bio
2018
California
41
3
Viela Bio
2018
Maryland
33
4
SpringWorks Therapeutics
2017
New York
28
5
NanOlogy
2017
Texas
19
6
Cullinan Oncology
2017
Massachusetts
18
7
Ambys Medicines
2018
California
18
8
Skyhawk Therapeutics
2018
Massachusetts
17
9
The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (MRI)
2018
Massachusetts
17
10
Ansun Biopharma
2018
California
16
11
Magnolia Neurosciences
218
New York
16
12
Compass Therapeutics
2018
Massachusetts
15
13
Beam Therapeutics
2018
Massachusetts
15
14
Joyn Bio
2018
Massachusetts
14
15
Partner Therapeutics
2018
Massachusetts
14
16
DataVant
2017
California
13
17
Genevant Sciences
2018
Massachusetts
13
18
Akouos
2018
Massachusetts
12
19
Akero Therapeutics
2018
Massachusetts / California
12
20
Rheos Medicines, Inc.
2018
Massachusetts
11

 

1. Allogene Therapeutics

Allogene


Points: 59
Launched: 2018
Location: South San Francisco, CA
Notable:
Allogene closed a $300 million Series A venture round in April 2018, which included investments from Pfizer and Gilead Sciences.
The company is focused on developing off-the-shelf CAR-T products.
• Allogene has access to 16 preclinical CAR-T licenses that Pfizer licensed from Cellectis and Servier.
One of the licensed assets, UCART19, is expected to begin Phase II clinical trials in 2019.
• The company completed a $120 million private financing of convertible notes.
Allogene raised $324 million in IPO, second highest IPO behind Moderna.
Pfizer has a 25 percent stake in Allogene.

 

2. Gossamer Bio

Gossamer Bio


Points: 41
Launched: 2018
Location: San Diego, CA
Notable:
Gossamer Bio launched in January 2018 with a $100 million Series A financing, which was followed in July by a $230 million Series B financing.
Gossamer Bio focuses on immunology and fibrosis, inflammation and immuno-oncology.
• The company currently has two products in Phase I clinical trials, two in Phase II, and two in preclinical studies.

 

3. Viela Bio

Viela Bio


Points: 33
Launched: 2018
Location: Gaithersburg, MD
Notable:
Viela Bio spun out of MedImmune in 2018.
In February 2018, the company closed a Series A financing worth $282.3 million.
• Viela Bio focuses on severe inflammation and autoimmune diseases by targeting shared critical pathways.
The company launched with three clinical and three pre-clinical drugs from MedImmune. These drugs include inebilizumab which is currently in Phase II for neuromyelitis optica, a rare condition of the optic nerve and spinal cord.

 

4. SpringWorks Therapeutics


Points: 28
Launched: 2017
Location: New York, NY
Notable:
SpringWorks Therapeutics launched with a $103 million Series A round, with Bain Capital, OrbiMed, and Pfizer as investors.
SpringWorks holds the rights to four clinical-stage therapies from Pfizer.
• SpringWorks has partnerships in place with Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation, Children’s Tumor Foundation, Cohen Veterans Bioscience, University of California David, Boston Children’s Hospital, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and BeiGene.
• The company’s most advanced drug candidate, nirogacestat, received orphan drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for desmoid tumors and PD-0325901 received orphan drug designation from the FDA for neurofibromatosis type 1.

 

5. NanOlogy

NanOlogy


Points: 19
Launched: 2017
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Notable:
NanOlogy was formed by DFB Pharmaceuticals, CritiTech, and US Biotest with seed funding of $2 million.
NanOlogy is focused on developing naked nanoparticle forms of paclitaxel and docetaxel for local delivery of the therapeutics to treat cancer and other diseases.
• The company is currently running Phase I trials for prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, pancreatic mucinous cysts and others.

 

6. Cullinan Oncology

Cullinan Oncology


Points: 18
Launched: 2017
Location: Cambridge, MA
Notable:
Cullinan Oncology launched in October 2017 with a Series A financing worth $150 million.
Cullinan is developing a venture fund/biotech business model where it plans to have 8 to 12 drugs in development with each drug having a dedicated chief executive. But instead of having a research team for each drug, Cullinan scientists will share company resources.
• Cullinan has three assets in its pipeline with one licensed from an unidentified university.
• The company signed a collaboration deal with MAB Discovery GmbH in February 2018.

 

7. Ambys Medicines

Ambys Medicines


Points: 18
Launched: 2018
Location: Redwood City, CA
Notable:
Ambys launched in August 2018 in a Series A financing round worth $60 million, funded by Third Rock Ventures and Takeda.
As part of the launch, Ambys signed a strategic partnership with Takeda with an additional $80 million commitment to fund research.
• Ambys will focus on chronic liver disease, including cell therapy for hepatocyte transplantation, gene therapy for liver regeneration, and drug therapy to replace lost protein function.

 

8. Skyhawk Therapeutics

Skyhawk Therapeutics


Points: 17
Launched: 2018
Location: Waltham, MA
Notable:
In June 2018, Skyhawk Therapeutics closed a $40 million equity investment round and then, in an unusual deal, signed a five-year collaborative agreement with Celgene that included an upfront $60 million.
Skyhawk focuses on developing small molecule therapeutics that correct RNA mis-splicing, what is usually called exon skipping.
• The company expects to move its first oncology treatment into the clinic in 2019.
• Skyhawk currently has four targets in oncology and three in neuro, which are in lead selection but past preclinical IND filing.

 

9. The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (MRI)

The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (MRI)

 

Points: 17
Launched: 2018
Location: Cambridge, MA
Notable:
In 2018, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation decided to launch a biotech company named The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (MRI).
MRI will focus on vaccines, especially malaria, tuberculosis and enteric diseases.
• The company expects to work with academic laboratories and biotech firms to shepherd programs through the early-to-middle stage of development then hunt for commercial partners.
• Via the Foundation, MRI has an annual operating budget of $100 million.
MRI’s lead project is determining if the well-documented BCG vaccine given to adolescents can increase their resistance to tuberculosis.

 

10. Ansun Biopharma

Ansun Biopharma

 

Points: 16
Launched: 2018
Location: San Diego, CA
Notable:
Ansun Biopharma launched on May 14, 2018, with $85 million in Series A financing from Sinopharm Healthcare Fund and Lilly Asia Ventures. Additional new investors include Lyfe Capital, Yuanming Capital, Matrix Partners China, 3e Bioventures Capital, Oceanpine Capital, VI Ventures and Joincap Investment.
The company has two products in Phase II clinical trials: 1) Fludase is a first-in-class therapeutic to treat all forms of influenza; 2) Paradase is a nebulized drug for parainfluenza viruses.

 

11. Magnolia Neurosciences

Magnolia Neurosciences

 

Points: 16
Launched: 2018
Location: New York, NY
Notable:
Magnolia Neurosciences Corporation was co-founded by Accelerator Life Science Partners and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The company launched in August 2018 with a $31 million Series A financing, which included AbbVie Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, Eli Lilly and Co., Innovative NY Fund, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., the Partnership Fund for New York City, Pfizer Ventures, Watson Fund, and WuXi, AppTec’s Corporate Venture Fund and 180 Degree Capital Corp.
• The company’s subsidiary, Korysso Therapeutics, received a $19.95 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas in August 2018.

 

12. Compass Therapeutics

Compass Therapeutics

 

Points: 15
Launched: 2018
Location: Cambridge, MA
Notable:
Launched with the final $49 million of a $132 million Series A financing in July 2018, led by OrbiMed Advisors and included F-Prime Capital, Cowen Healthcare Investment, Thiel Capital, Biomatics Capital, Ulysses Holdings, Borealis Ventures, Alexandria Ventures Investments and Biomed Realty Ventures.
Currently has 15 therapeutic candidates advancing through preclinical programs for cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases.  

 

 

13. Beam Therapeutics

Beam Therapeutics


Points: 15
Launched: 2018
Location: Cambridge, MA
Notable:
Beam Therapeutics launched with up to $87 million in cumulative Series A funding led by F-Prime Capital Partners and ARCH Venture Partners in May 2018.
Beam focuses on multiple DNA base editor platforms developed in the lab of David Liu and the RNA base editor platform developed by Feng Zhang at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
• The company has licensed tech from Harvard for two base editing platforms.
• Beam entered into a licensing and option agreement with Editas Medicine.

 

14. Joyn Bio

Joyn Bio [square]

 

Points: 14
Launched: 2018
Location: Boston, MA
Notable:
Joyn Bio is a joint venture between Bayer AG and Ginkgo Bioworks.
Joyn Bio was launched with a $100 million Series A financing led by Bayer, Ginkgo BIoworks and Viking Global Investors.
• In addition to the financing, Ginkgo is offering Joyn access to technology, laboratory and office space, and is building a new facility just for Joyn.
• Bayer is providing access to proprietary microbial strains.
• Joyn Bio is focused on synthetic biology for agricultural applications.

 

15. Partner Therapeutics

Partner Therapeutics


Points: 14
Launched: 2018
Location: Lexington, MA
Notable:
Partner Therapeutics launched in February 2018 with a $60 million Series A financing led by Perceptive Advisors, Adams St. Partners and MidCap Financial.
The company acquired rights to Leukine (sargramostim) from Sanofi in February 2018, which was already approved, and will develop the drug for new indications.
• Partner Therapeutics signed a distribution deal with Tanner Pharmaceuticals for Leukine in May 2018.
•  In June, the FDA approved Leukine for the treatment of acute radiation syndrome and in November Leukine was granted orphan drug designation for pulmonary alveolar proteinosis. 

 

16. Datavant

Datavant

 

Points: 13
Launched: 2017
Location: San Francisco, CA
Notable:
Datavant is a part of Roivant Sciences, one of Vivek Ramaswamy’s numerous companies.
The company focuses on utilizing artificial intelligence to improve the clinical trial process and is led by Travis May, a Silicon Valley tech veteran who was co-founder and chief executive officer of LiveRamp.
• Datavant had a $40 million financing round in April 2018 led by Roivant Sciences and Travis May.
• In April 2018, Datavant acquired Universal Patient Key (UPK), a leading provider of HIPAA-compliant de-identification services for healthcare data.
• In May 2018, Datavant teamed with Worldwide Clinical Trials, a Contract Research Organization (CRO).

 

17. Genevant Sciences

Genevant

 

Points: 13
Launched: 2018
Location: Cambridge, MA
Notable:
Genevant is one of Vivek Ramaswamy’s companies under the umbrella of Roivant Sciences.
Genevant was formed by Arbutus Biopharma Corporation and Roivant Sciences as a jointly-operated company focused on discovery, development, and commercialization of RNA-based therapeutics enabled by Arbutus’ proprietary nanoparticle (LNP) and ligand conjugate delivery technologies.
• Roivant had a $116 million stake in Arbutus’ hepatitis B program.
• Genevant was launched with $37.5 million in seed capital from Roivant.
• Genevant signed a research deal with BioNTech to develop five products for rare diseases.

 

18. Akouos

Akouos

 

Points: 12
Launched: 2018
Location: Boston, MA
Notable:
Launched in 2018 with a $50 million Series A co-led by 5AM Ventures and New Enterprise Associates, who were joined by existing seed investor Partners Innovation Fund and new investors Sofinnova Ventures, RA Capital Management and Novartis Venture Fund.
The company will focus on developing AAV-based gene therapies for sensorineural hearing loss.
• The company has licensed technology from Massachusetts Eye and Ear, and Lonza.

 

19. Akero Therapeutics

Akero Therapeutics


Points: 12
Launched: 2018
Location: Cambridge, MA / San Francisco, CA
Notable:
Akero Therapeutics launched in June 2018 with a $65 million Series A co-led by Apple Tree Partners, Atlas Venture, venBio Partners and Versant Ventures and most recently, closed $70 million Series B in December.
The company’s focus is on non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and other serious metabolic diseases.
• Akero’s lead clinical program is AKR-001, a long-acting fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) analogue, which it licensed from Amgen and plans to initiate a Phase II clinical trial in NASH.

 

20. Rheos Medicines, Inc.

Rheos Medicines, Inc.

 

Points: 11
Launched: 2018
Location: Cambridge, MA 
Notable:
Rheos Medicines launched in March 2018 with a $60 million Series A financing backed by Third Rock Ventures.
The company focuses on developing therapies for immune-mediated diseases by tuning metabolic pathways in immune cells.
• Rheos Medicines’ product engine is a proprietary Immune Cell Encyclopedia (ICE), which maps the metabolic pathways by using different types of immune cells to regulate their fate and function.

 

To come up with this Top 20, BioSpace sorted companies into that age grouping, and they were then weighted by a number of different categories and finally ranked in a cumulative fashion, based on the points awarded for each category. These categories were: Finance, Collaborations, Pipeline and Innovation (view methodology below).

 

Check out last year's top 20 life science startups and previous NextGen Bio classes:

NextGen Bio "Class of 2018."

NextGen Bio "Class of 2017."

NextGen Bio "Class of 2016."

NextGen Bio "Class of 2015."

 

Methodology: How We Ranked the "NextGen Bio Class of 2018"

Data collected for points current as of the end of 3Q2018

Finance: One (1) point was awarded for each $10 million in seed financing or seed money that was raised.

Collaborations: One (1) point was awarded if the company was a spinout from a well-known company or institution, had signed developmental or commercial agreements or partnerships. Two points for each collaboration.

Pipeline: One (1) point was added for each product in Phase I clinical trial. Two (2) points were added for each product in Phase II clinical trial. Three (3) points were added for each product in Phase III clinical trial.

Innovation: The editor awarded up to ten (10) points to some companies for either particularly interesting areas of science and technology, or for working in a particularly broad and open market. Factors such as awards for a product, founder or scientists were also taken into account.

* Launch date was primarily chosen as the date of a Series A financing. This can vary dramatically from the date the company was founded, which is typically the date incorporation papers were filed. For purposes of an algorithm and simplification, with few exceptions during the sorting process, launch date was based on financing.

 

Check out Life Sciences Job Opportunities. 

 

Back to news