European biotech companies have been in the limelight recently due to their efforts in fighting the novel virus. They have also been advancing in immunotherapy, cell and gene therapy, and oncology, among other fields.
According to a report, in 2018, Europe accounted for 13% of the production of new drugs approved by the US FDA. However, Europe received only about 20% funding compared to US biotechs.
The trend, however, is changing, as European companies are involved in developing vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, achieving positive trial results for other ailments, and doing well in funding rounds.
Factors Working in Favour of Biotech Companies in Europe
2020 has been an exciting and bustling year for European companies. On the back of innovative and sustainable solutions, several companies were able to get several millions in during their funding rounds.
Diverse Focus Areas
There are thousands of European biotech companies. With diverse focus areas, the European biotech industry has a strong foundation that makes scaling relatively easier. For example, BioNTech, based out of Germany, with its US partner Pfizer, was the first company to commercialise the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine.
On the other hand, companies like Carbios, based out of France, focus on developing eco-friendly plastics. Freeline Therapeutics is another company in the UK that is working on gene therapy for blood clotting disorders.
Innovative Solutions to Real-World Problems
Europe boasts of an impressive network of research and medical centres, top-class universities, and hospitals. The talent base in Europe is comparatively smaller than in the US and Asia, but the number is gradually increasing.
A smaller talent base has not hampered the quality of solutions being offered by the companies. For example, Green Basilisk is working on the idea of self-healing concrete that produces limestone using certain bacteria. The material with a longer lifespan and reduced maintenance is a boost to Europe’s sustainability goal.
Increased Interest among Investors
With the global pandemic, several companies shifted their focus to developing solutions for combating COVID-19. The advances made by European companies have generated increased interest among investors.
Companies focusing on other areas are reaching new heights with clinical trials, market authorisations, and patents. Companies also raised several million with Nasdaq IPOs. For example, in 2020, CureVac raised £180 million in a Nasdaq IPO.
Leading Companies in the European Biotech Space
At the end of 2020, AB Science achieved effective results in a phase IIb/III study for Alzheimer’s. Their drug prevented patients with moderate symptoms of Alzheimer’s from progressing to severe dementia. The finding could be a significant breakthrough in the treatment plan for Alzheimer’s if the results hold up in the upcoming III study phase.
As mentioned above, 2020 has been an excellent year for BioNTech with its role in developing the COVID-19 vaccine. The company is expected to continue its growing spree as it undertakes the challenge of producing vaccines on a large scale for the global population.
The company is working on developing a drug that will help prevent and reduce different inflammatory conditions. With £49 million raised during a Series B financing round in June 2020, the company is now stepping into the clinical development phase.
As public demand for sustainable farming solutions is rising, food biotech companies have been receiving their share of the spotlight. Prolupin produces nutritious oils and vegan food by extracting healthy protein from the lupin plant.
The company will be one of the first to benefit from the £250 million funds the European Investment Bank set up to support bio-economy companies.
Understanding data has become critical for the success of any organisation. Sophia Genetics has developed an AI platform that helps healthcare professionals and drug developers make sense of complex medical data.
The company raised over £90 million in its Series F funding round in October 2020, paving the way for expansion into global markets.
The Way Forward for Biotech Companies in Europe
Biotech companies have been relentlessly working towards developing innovative solutions for the human population. Their importance has been amplified in recent times due to the pandemic.
The European biotech industry raised about £6.7 billion in 2020. The amount is double what was raised in 2019. The numbers are proof of the interest and confidence of investors in this industry. In the near future, investments in the biotech space are expected to keep increasing.
Public sentiment is another factor that plays into the success of these companies. People today are more aware; they are demanding sustainable solutions, pushing for growth in different spheres like agriculture, materials, energy, chemical, and manufacturing.