The microbiome is implicated in a number of metabolic pathways and communicates closely with our body in health and diseases. Imbalance of microflora is linked to obesity, diabetes, allergies, cancer, and even depression and autism. However, these facts have been ignored for decades. But today, the microbiome market is catching up, attracting considerable investments. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2018 that “from 2011 through 2015, venture funding in microbiome firms soared 458.5 percent to $114.5 million, while overall venture investment grew 103.4 percent to $75.29 billion.
Things like gene editing, stem cells, immunotherapies and new types of biologics are now mega-trends in the pharmaceutical industry, widely covered in media, and I guess there is little doubt that biology is the next big thing in medicine. However, in this post I would like to outline several hot areas in small molecule drug discovery, suggesting a lot of untapped potential and investment prospects in this more “traditional” pharmaceutical research space.
Major companies on the scene include Second Genome, Enterome, and EpiBiome. In addition, several new startups have entered the field. Amongst the most active investors, Global Engage reports, are Seventure Partners, Flagship Pioneering and BioGaia. In fact there are some 120 companies investing in analyzing data relating to the human microbiome. To take one example, companies such as uBiome are developing genomic tests meant to identify and diagnose harmful microbes in the body.
Evaxion Biotech uses its machine learning-based platform to compare DNAs of tumor cells and DNAs healthy cells and identify mutations that are critical for the disease. This data is further used to design anticancer vaccines.
Pharmaceutical industry is rapidly evolving, influenced by emerging novel technologies and recent advances in Life Sciences and Big Data analysis, new government policies and regulations, and a changing market conjuncture.
Let’s review some of the most powerful trends that will dominate the industry in 2017 and promising biopharmaceutical startups riding their waves.