by Victoria Dipla, MSc Student in Bioeconomy / International Hellenic University
London is one of the cities in what is known as the “golden- triangle” in Britain, with the other two competitor cities being Oxford and Cambridge. Still ,though, and despite the competition and the total amount of £182m, that was raised by biotech companies and in the life science industry during 2018 in UK ( according to the report of the UK BioIndustry Association), London has a large share of all this cash spend on biotechnology. Feast your ( London) eyes below with some, randomly put in order, of the rising and most profitable companies in the field, that defy Brexit ill-baring news and speculations and thrive ( more on that later and on a whole new article).
NightStar Therapeutics ( with its subsidiary NightStarRx Limited), founded on 2013, is a biotechnological company whose vision is literary to develop gene therapies that tackle degrading genetic diseases affecting vision.
One of its eye-catching developments is its gene therapy that is on Phase 3 clinical trial, also known as the Star trial, in order to treat a rare genetic retinal disorder, that mostly affects males, called Choroideremia (CHM). Following the clinical trial, NightStar is in the process of a historical study of the CHM patients enrolled in such trials all around the world since 2015, known as the Night Study.
NightStar is also a public company, currently on the US Nasdaq exchange, one of many UK companies choosing to list not on UK public markets, with an IPO of $75m on 2017.
One of the companies also listed on Nasdaq exchange is the one that follows:
Founded on 2015 and London-headquartered, Orchard Therapeutics is one of the most successful companies in Britain using its autologous ex vivo gene therapy in the fight against serious genetically inherited diseases (immune deficiencies, inherited metabolic disorders and blood disorders). This revolutionary technology that they use involves using the patient’s own Stem cells, which are later modified outside their body, hence the “ex vivo”, with the help of a viral vector, carrier of the necessary gene, which was either dysfunctional or non-present at all, and only then reintroduced into the patient.
They recently added in their portfolio the first gene therapy following the aforementioned procedure to be approved by the EMA ( European Medicines Agency), the Strimvellis, which is for adenosine deaminase severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID).
Another company with ground breaking technics and vital contribution to life sciences in general is the following:
As the years go by and with the excessive use of antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant generations of bacteria have emerged, threatening to set the scientific progress in the field years behind.
Motif Bio, founded on 2014, and their revolutionary work in the biopharmaceutical sector developing novel antibiotics that can address even severe infections, the result of multi-drug resistant Gram-positive bacteria (and MRSA). Their primary candidate product is iclaprim, an antibiotic meant for the treatment of acute bacterial skin and skin structure infection ( ABSSSI). They are currently in the process of seeking the US ‘Food and Drug Administration /FDA’s approval for its use as a treatment for the aforementioned disease. Recently they were granted a meeting on March of 2019 with the FDA to discuss their viewpoints upon the matter.
Last but not least, they have received the Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) designation from the FDA for iclaprim.
In the end, before our eyes and beyond what they can see, the future might seem ominous, due to recent developments with Brexit, leading to the relocation of the EMA to Amsterdam, despite leading its operation for more than 20 years from London( more on that on the next chapter). However, as everything in life, and if I may say in biology, things have two sides, and why not, judging by how well the biotechnological companies are doing, untouched for now by the imminent exit from the EU, there might also be a silver lining.
We are grateful to Ms Victoria Dipla for kindly providing the original article.