3 reasons why biotech is booming

Scientific discovery and innovation are no longer relegated to the margins. Indeed scientists are no longer mad megalomaniacs creating Frankenstein’s monster.  

Biotechnology is hip, happening, and certainly the cool kid on the block. Biotech was behind the speed and adeptness with which scientists could understand COVID-19. Within a few short months, scientists mapped the virus’s genome and translated novel technology – mRNA – into a groundbreaking vaccine. Millions of lives were saved. Investment grew manifold. 

A McKinsey report reveals that biotech companies raised more than $34 billion in 2021, which doubled the 2020 total of $16 billion. Venture capital companies invested in 2200 biotech startups in 2016 (globally). In 2021, this had grown to 3100. 

Here are three reasons why biotech is booming. 

Technological advancement

Biotechnology has witnessed rapid technological growth. These advancements include gene editing tools like CRISPR-Cas9, next-generation sequencing techniques, and high throughput screening methods. Such groundbreaking discovery has accelerated drug development and enabled researchers to identify potential therapies more efficiently and effectively.

Increased investment and funding opportunities

The biotech sector has attracted significant investment from both private and public sources. Venture capitalists, big pharma and governments have shown strong interest in biotech startups and research initiatives. This increased funding has allowed biotech companies to pursue ambitious projects and take more calculated risks in their research and development endeavors. 

VC investors appear focused on emerging technologies that can precisely tailor treatments to individual patients and deliver them to the target site. 

Five platforms, in particular, are creating buzz:

  1. Cell therapy

This can pinpoint and treat diseased tissues or cells and other diseases (for example, solid tumors). 

  1. Next-generation gene therapies

These can edit and modulate DNA and RNA and could cure genetic diseases.

  1. Precision medicine

Precision medicine has the potential to diagnose conditions earlier than other diagnostic tools. Therapies can thus be tailored to a patient’s specific needs and genetic profile. 

  1. Treatment of resistant illnesses

Strategies are being developed to target previously drug-resistant or complex targets, such as hard-to-hit proteins and hard-to-treat diseases. 

  1. Novel delivery mechanisms

New delivery methods can send novel therapies to an affected tissue, precisely and safely. 

Growing demand for innovative healthcare solutions

The rapid rise of non-communicable diseases like hypertension and type 2 diabetes, an aging population, and other emerging health concerns, means that the healthcare industry has to respond meaningfully and efficiently. 

Biotech companies are well-positioned to develop cutting-edge therapies, personalized medicine, and other novel treatments for several medical conditions. 

Healthcare costs have also increased globally

Healthcare costs have left many bankrupt. This has pressurized the healthcare sector to find more efficient and cost-effective solutions. Innovative healthcare technologies have the potential to streamline processes, reduce operational expenses and improve patient outcomes. 

Enhanced data analytics will improve healthcare

The ability to collect, process and analyze vast amounts of healthcare data has significantly improved. Now we can harness this data to identify trends, patterns and potential health risks, leading to better-informed decision-making and targeted interventions. 

This is where Similari comes in

With Similari, your data monitoring needs are taken care of to drive data-driven business decision-making. Deep data points are mined and presented in a user-friendly and intuitive dashboard. Reach out today for a free demo, and find out how Similari can help you offload up to 90% of your data monitoring time while delivering valuable insights in real time.

How you can be the next Moderna or BioNTech

The protracted Covid-19 pandemic needed a rapid response. The worldwide deployment of the mRNA vaccine was therefore nothing short of miraculous, requiring a skillful and coordinated effort. This novel technology literally determined life or death for many people. While the mRNA tech had been decades in development, its emergency use opened up the field of vaccinology to endless innovation and potential. Indeed, not only in defeating infectious diseases but as a possibility in other therapeutic contexts. 

Two companies, Moderna and BioNTech, were the first companies granted emergency use of the mRNA technology for a Covid vaccine. Both companies were relatively unknown before 2020. The question is…

How can life science startups learn from these mRNA pioneers? 

Early Research and Development

Moderna and BioNTech had invested in mRNA technology for several years prior to the pandemic. Their foundational research and development efforts laid the ground for the fast-tracked development of a vaccine. 

Before focusing on specific disease targets, extensive preclinical studies to understand the mechanisms behind mRNA and its safety and efficacy were undertaken. Once it showed promise, scientists began targeting antigens for infectious diseases like flu and Zika. 

Behind this research and development were passionate scientists and entrepreneurs who painstakingly tested the mRNA technology in generating a potent immune response. 

The delivery system presented a few challenges which scientists needed to grapple with and overcome

One of the major challenges in mRNA vaccine development was finding a safe and effective way to deliver the mRNA into cells. Enter lipid nanoparticles. These protected, and thus enabled the mRNA to enter human cells and facilitate the important work of protein synthesis. 

Collaborations and Partnerships

Moderna and BioNTech collaborated with various organizations, including government agencies, academic institutions and other biotech companies. These partnerships were critical to share knowledge, resources and expertise in a time of major upheaval and acute disease. 

It is important to note that governments around the world showed immense leadership in expediting vaccine development and production. As such, Moderna and BioNTech could scale up vaccine manufacturing to mass produce their vaccines. 

A focus on adaptability

The beauty of mRNA tech is that it is flexible, enabling researchers to swiftly modify the vaccine design to target new viral variants. Moreover, the technology could be useful in many other therapeutic areas. 

Efficient clinical trials

Both companies conducted large-scale clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of their vaccines. Their speed and rigor were the defining factors and were essential in gaining regulatory approval and public trust. 

Biotech startups are poised to make it big

The life sciences sector in the US generates over $112-billion in revenue. It’s therefore no surprise that tech hubs are seeing an uptick in biotechnology research and development. Scientists are racing to formulate new cancer treatments, or tap into the exciting world of genetics. 

Spotting opportunities is key

Despite the groundbreaking work of companies like Moderna and BioNTech, there’s still more to be discovered. Researchers and entrepreneurs are on the lookout to improve or build on existing technology. Adjuvants, for example, improve the potency of vaccines by boosting immune responses. 

Beyond vaccinology, opportunities abound in specialized fields such as gene editing technologies, CAR-T Cell Therapy, and personalized medicine. 

With Similari, you could rapidly bolster your research and development efforts

With all the possibilities out there, you need relevant and meaningful data to make rapid and groundbreaking business decisions. With Similari, your data monitoring needs are taken care of. Deep data points are mined and presented in a user-friendly and intuitive dashboard. Reach out today for a free demo, and find out how Similari can help you offload up to 90% of your data monitoring time, while delivering deeper, more relevant insights in real-time.

Data monitoring for life science R&D: why reading widely is critical and how you can get it done

While intensive research and development time is critical in the life sciences industry, keeping on top of news, insights and research is essential for data-driven decision making. A discovery is only as good as its broader context. Questions to consider include whether there are competitors playing in the arena, and what patents exist, if any, in your area of development. It’s possible to make rapid breakthroughs if all your (information) ducks are in a row. 

Covid-19 proved how rapidly the biotech sector evolves. Companies like Moderna and BioNTech were newbies in the mRNA space before the pandemic, and with significant leaps in income and status, are now household names.

But as the industry is in constant flux and fast paced, staying on top of reading material can be tricky. Indeed, information overload and time constraints are real concerns for busy biotech entrepreneurs. We’ll look at why you need to read widely, and how to carve out precious time and resources to do so. 

Why staying on top of developments, insights, data, news and research is important

Comprehensive knowledge

Reading widely opens the door to a broad range of studies, research papers, reports and expert opinions. Because the world of biotech can be complex, reading widely on the subject matter can also uncover several perspectives and nuances. 

Identify trends and patterns

Analyzing different data sources helps to identify trends and patterns. This leads to informed decision-making and more accurate predictions based on the collective knowledge from various sources. 

Validation and cross-checking

Reading widely allows you to cross-check information and validate findings. Reproducibility and verification are essential in the scientific community to ensure the credibility and reliability of data. 

Sparking new R&D ideas

There’s no doubt that exposure to diverse ideas and research can spark creativity and lead to innovative approaches in data monitoring and analysis. 

You may be thinking that this is all well and good, but how do I find the time?

Here are a few ways to prioritize your knowledge sessions.

Set specific time slots

Allocate specific time slots during your day dedicated to reading news and insights in the life sciences space. It could be during your morning coffee, lunch break, or after work. 

Use commuting time

If you have a daily commute via public transport, perhaps use the time to catch up on news. If you have a car trip, consider podcasts or recorded readings. 

Prioritize reading

It may seem pithy, but prioritizing your reading time is key. If you consider it essential for your professional development, you’ll be more motivated to find the time for it. 

Participate in webinars

Many organizations, media publications and research institutions host webinars and online seminars on a huge variety of life science topics. These can provide valuable insights without needing to read vast swathes of information. You’ll also likely hear from experts in the field and indeed, get to ask any burning question you may have.

Automating data monitoring

There’s no doubt that the sheer volume of data generated by the life sciences industry is too large for humans to monitor effectively. AI-driven insights management solutions like Similari are able to do it in real-time, collating key findings into an easy-to-read format, and helping researchers offload 90% of data monitoring time from their daily work. 

With Similari, you can do your essential reading in a smart way

It’s important to read trustworthy and robust news and research. With the right data monitoring approach, readers can expand their knowledge in an evolving and dynamic field. With Similari, you have all the information at your fingertips presented on one dashboard. Yep, no need to compile a reading list from multiple sites.  What’s more, Similari’s AI-enabled insights management platform monitors millions of deep data points in your chosen arena of inquiry. Reach out today for a free demo, and find out how Similari can help you offload up to 90% of your data monitoring time, while delivering deeper, more relevant insights in real-time.

When clinical trials fail: there’s always a silver lining

In 2019, an HIV vaccine trial, Mosaico, began. There was of course much pinning on it. Without treatment, the dangerous human immunodeficiency virus wreaks havoc on those it infects and broader communities. An article in Nature notes that advances in care over the past three decades have transformed HIV from a deadly disease to a manageable chronic condition. This is because of the amazing research and development, and drug discovery that has taken place to treat this complex condition. Nevertheless, substantial gaps in care remain and HIV continues to be a major public health threat. The best course? Preventative vaccines. 

But Mosaico failed. The vaccine meant to target a variety of HIV subtypes didn’t invoke the necessary immune response to neutralize the antibodies powerful enough to fight the infection. All was not lost. Dr Anthony Fauci asserted that despite Mosaico’s disappointing outcome, it did show that any further vaccine should rouse the body to produce broadly neutralizing antibodies. 

As biotech entrepreneurs, we have to confront wily adversaries such as HIV and consider the most innovative and thoughtful ways to tackle them. It’s really challenging to get the preventative treatment right. Healthcare experts, such as Fauci, lament that while there are working treatments, a patient must take them for the rest of their lives. In resource-constrained public health systems, this is not ideal. 

The silver-lining: why life-sciences companies need to appreciate failure

Scientific Learning: 

Vaccine trials, whether successful or not, provide valuable scientific data that can improve our understanding of the virus and the immune response. Each trial contributes to the growing body of knowledge in HIV research, potentially uncovering new avenues for vaccine development.

Targeting a Complex Virus: 

HIV is a highly mutable virus, which means it can change its genetic makeup rapidly, making it challenging to design an effective vaccine. By conducting trials like Mosaico, researchers can assess the efficacy of different vaccine candidates and refine their approaches.

Vaccine Development Strategies:

The failure of a vaccine trial provides insights into which strategies might not work and prompts researchers to reevaluate their hypotheses. It can lead to the refinement of future vaccine candidates, guiding scientists towards more promising avenues.

Ethical Considerations: 

Vaccine trials involve extensive testing on human volunteers. While a failure may be disheartening, it is essential to ensure the safety and efficacy of potential vaccines before wider deployment to avoid potential harm.

Future Trials: 

The data and lessons learned from a trial like Mosaico can inform the design of future trials. Researchers can adapt their methodologies and focus on different aspects to increase the chances of success in subsequent attempts.

Biotech entrepreneurs can take advantage of drug discovery funding

Fauci noted that the field is “going to continue to pursue very active research in that area.” For biotech companies, this signals opportunities. It’s not only vaccines that are being trialed. Indeed, the field will always require a variety of treatment and prevention options. From long–acting injectables to oral pre-exposure prophylaxis, the drug discovery landscape is a biotech entrepreneur’s oyster. 

To stay abreast of drug discovery, new and ongoing clinical trials, choose Similari

The world of life-sciences is in constant flux and motion. New discoveries are made while others are paused or halted altogether. With Similari, you can get to grips with this information and so much more.  Similari’s AI-enabled insights management platform brings news and developments directly to you by monitoring millions of data points in your chosen arena of inquiry, many of which are invisible to traditional search methods. Reach out today for a free demo, and find out how Similari can help you keep absolutely up-to-date with the latest life sciences news and developments.

Interested in starting a biotech company? Here’s what you need to know

It’s no surprise that more academics and researchers are looking to start their own life science startups. Since COVID-19, the biotech market has had an unprecedented amount of funding to meet huge local and global demand for lifesaving biotechnology. Indeed, 2022 was probably the best year on record for health startup funding.  What’s more, the USA boasts a robust biotech ecosystem, creating a supportive environment for collaboration and access to resources.

Knowledge of the industry’s scientific, business and regulatory aspects is critical

Birthing a biotech company has many unforeseen obstacles. Aside from the typical entrepreneurial headaches, there are a plethora of information obstacles. Knowing your patents from your property law, what R&D exists, and who’s who in the industry is critical to your success. 

We’ve set out a few guidelines, essential to build your knowledge and expertise in the exciting biotech startup space. 

Have your biotech fundamentals down pat

Develop a strong foundation in biotechnology principles, including molecular biology, genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, and microbiology. Familiarize yourself with cutting-edge technologies and emerging trends in the biotech industry.

Do your market due diligence

Understand the current market trends, potential competitors, and opportunities in the biotech sector. Analyze the demand for specific biotech products or services and identify the target market.

Know your trademarks from your copyright

Familiarize yourself with intellectual property laws, including patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Learn how to protect your innovations and navigate the patent application process effectively.

Play it safe

Biotech companies must adhere to various regulations, especially those related to product development, clinical trials, and commercialization. Research the requirements of regulatory agencies, such as the FDA. 

Business management skills are crucial

Acquire knowledge of business management principles, including market strategy, financial planning, funding options, and risk assessment. Develop a clear business plan outlining your company’s goals, objectives, and strategies.

Follow the money

Research funding options are available to biotech startups, such as venture capital, angel investors, government grants, and partnerships. Understand the expectations of investors and how to pitch your business effectively.

It’s also wise to research the legal requirements and taxation policies applicable to biotech companies in your jurisdiction.

Drug discovery and product development essentials

Gain insights into the process of developing biotech products, conducting preclinical studies, and designing and executing clinical trials. Understanding the regulatory requirements and safety standards in this area is crucial.

First, do no harm

Understand the ethical implications of biotechnology, especially when dealing with sensitive areas such as genetic engineering or human clinical trials. Ethical practices are essential for building trust with stakeholders. Familiarize yourself with business ethics and compliance standards. Ensure that your company follows ethical guidelines in research, development, and commercialization processes.

For extensive and personalized biotech startup tips and insights, choose Similari

Getting to grips with business, competitors, existing patents and legal implications of biotech can seem overwhelming. 

With Similari, you are able to stay abreast of such topics in structured, intuitive and meaningful ways, helping you succeed on this journey riddled with challenges. 

Similari’s AI-enabled insights management platform brings you a live feed of all the latest biotech news and developments as they happen by monitoring millions of data points in your chosen arena of inquiry.

Reach out today.