Is there a magic pill? Ozempic and 9 other potential weight loss innovations

With obesity a growing concern worldwide, clinicians and health officials are scratching their heads as to what appropriate and sustainable lines of treatment there are. Obesity, along with other non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension, has major implications for healthcare systems. 

Apart from expensive and hazardous surgery, the other option is weight-loss drugs. These have understandably hit the market with huge aplomb. Losing weight through the so-called “traditional” means of diet and exercise has failed miserably for millions of people.

Weight loss drugs Wegovy and Ozempic are self-administered weekly injectables. They mimic a human hormone called GLP-1. This hormone is released in the gut in response to eating and signals fullness much quicker. Generally, semaglutide has been used in treating Type 2 diabetes, but is effective in addressing obesity. 

The drugs are quite complex to use, and come with a hefty price tag. Indeed, the lowest price for a month’s supply of semaglutide at the maximum dose for weight loss is $804 in the US. 

This is why the field is ripe for new and improved ways to treat obesity 

Introducing startups like Fracty, Health. This biotech company aims to simplify treatment, reduce cost, and ensure the longevity of results. Indeed, with weight loss drugs like Ozempic, once someone stops taking the ‘dose’, the weight piles back, and usually with interest. 

Fractyl Health has developed a treatment for Type 2 diabetes with uses for weight control. It is hoped that this could be a ‘one-and-done’ treatment that lasts for years. Essentially, the company aims to use gene therapy to deliver an artificial gene to the pancreas to continuously produce the GLP-1 hormone. 

Gene therapy is a fascinating and exciting field for biotech companies and lifescience entrepreneurs. In this instance, the treatment usesinactivated viruses to carry a therapeutic gene to pancreatic cells. Viruses are used because of their natural ability to deliver genetic material to cells. 

What opportunities exist for biotech in sustainable weightloss interventions?

The bottom line is that innovative treatment is needed to tackle obesity. Many things cause this disease; biotech can consider numerous ways to contribute to treatment. Broadly, biotech can leverage advancements in genetics, microbiome research, pharmaceuticals and personalized medicine. Possibilities include: 

  1. Precision medicine and genetic testing

Biotech can use genetic testing to identify individuals’ genetic predispositions to weight gain and obesity. There’s an opportunity to develop personalized weight loss plans and interventions based on genetic profiles to optimize outcomes.

  1. Microbiome modulation

Research and development interventions that target the gut microbiome to influence metabolism and weight regulation look promising. This could involve probiotics, prebiotics or microbiome-based therapies. 

  1. Pharmaceutical innovations

Drug discovery that targets specific biological pathways involved in appetite regulation, fat metabolism and energy expenditure should be invested in. These drugs, combined with lifestyle changes to enhance weight loss efforts, may be effective in the long term. 

  1. Nutrigenomics

Biotech companies can study the interaction between nutrients and genes to tailor dietary recommendations based on a person’s genetic makeup. Personalized nutrition plans could be designed. 

  1. Neuroscience and brain-machine interfaces

Lifescience innovators could investigate how the brain processes hunger and satiety signals. Interventions could, for example, use brain-machine interfaces or neurostimulation to regulate appetite and promote healthier eating behaviors. 

  1. Cellular and gene therapies

Cellular therapies, which include adipose-derived stem cells, could target fat tissue and promote healthy weight loss. Gene therapies that modify genes related to metabolism and fat storage present significant opportunities for biotech entrepreneurs. 

  1. Bariatric surgery innovations

There is great potential for scientists to develop minimally invasive and safer bariatric surgery techniques. These could have fewer complications and be less expensive, making weight loss surgery a more accessible and sustainable option.

  1. Metabolic engineering

It is possible to engineer metabolic pathways to enhance energy expenditure and reduce fat storage. Biotech entrepreneurs could develop therapies that target specific metabolic processes to promote weight loss. 

  1. Combination therapies

Investigating the synergistic effects of combining different biotechnological approaches, such as drugs, genetic interventions and behavioral strategies to create sustainable weight loss interventions is a critical gap. 

No need to tighten your belts with Similari

There are a myriad of weight loss innovations with potential. They also come with ethical, safety and regulatory considerations. Rigorous research, clinical trials and collaboration between researchers and healthcare professionals are essential. 

With Similari’s AI-enabled intelligence platform, you can gauge the weightloss drug discovery and innovation landscape in granular detail. You’ll be able to forge ahead knowing what your competitors are up to, who has secured patents and who has concluded a trial. Similari trains itself over time and delivers top insights relevant to your industry. 

Book a demo today to find out how you can offload 90% of your research time with Similari. 

Why antimicrobial resistance is an opportunity for biotech

Antibiotic resistance has been pegged as one of the greatest threats to global public health. In the last decades, the emergence of multi-drug-resistant viral strains has resulted in growing healthcare expenses, chronic illness, disability and death. While there has been some movement regarding drug discovery and innovative treatment options, wily resistance mechanisms continue to emerge and spread. 

Antibiotic resistance is deadly. At least 700 000 deaths per year are attributable to antibiotic-resistant strains. This number is predicted to increase to 10 million deaths annually by 2050. 

Biotech has a major role to play in the discovery of innovative treatment options 

In particular, emerging antibiotic resistance markers must be identified, novel therapeutic methods developed and rapid detection methods prioritized. In addition, clinically relevant, antibiotic-resistant reference strains are needed in assay development and drug discovery. 

Ironically, the pharmaceutical industry has lessened its antibiotic production owing to economic constraints and growing biological resistance mechanisms. Humans have overused and misused these drugs, once considered miracles in safely and effectively treating infections. 

Biotech and life science entrepreneurs are ideally placed for the boom in R&D

Market Demand

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing global threat, and new antibiotics and other antimicrobial treatments are urgently needed. 


The challenge of antimicrobial resistance requires innovative solutions, which presents an opportunity for biotech and life science entrepreneurs. 

Several US undergraduate students at Stanford University initiated a biotech startup to develop new antibiotics for drug-resistant superbugs. 

The young biotech entrepreneurs decided to focus on two strains of bacteria resistant to almost every existing antibiotic. These strains also had high mortality rates – the Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii

The students designed a scientific plan that showcased molecular designs for new antibiotics, a plan to clinically test them and a budget for the project. They found that multi-drug resistant bacteria was a “huge area of need” but neglected by the pharmaceutical industry. This is because of a smaller market size, the expectation of low pricing and the development of further resistance. 

But, new antimicrobial resistance therapies have economic and health benefits

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that drug-resistant infections are responsible for $4.6 billion in treatment costs. By developing new treatments and therapies for antimicrobial resistance, biotech and life science entrepreneurs can significantly impact public health. 

Innovation will preserve other medical advances

Many medical advances, such as joint replacements, organ transplants and cancer therapy, depend on the ability to fight infections using antibiotics. Developing new antimicrobial agents can help preserve these medical advances by ensuring that infections can be effectively treated. 

There are mindblowing antimicrobial resistance treatments being explored

Some of these treatments and therapies against deadly pathogens include:

  1. Alternatives to new drugs

Alternatives to new antibiotic and antifungal drugs, such as vaccines to combat infections that can develop antimicrobial resistance, are being explored. In other words, infections can be prevented before they happen. 

  1. Futuristic non-antibiotic therapies

These therapies include stem cell AMPs, CRISP-Cas, probiotics and nanobiotics. 

  1. Peptides and complexes

Peptides and complexes are being explored as new therapies to combat multidrug-resistant bacteria. 

You can take informed risks with Similari

Developing antimicrobial resistance therapies presents a major opportunity for life sciences organizations with an eye toward lucrative innovation. But in order to avoid patent thickets, duplication and overlap and to help identify the true white spaces, you need the right insights management tools. 

Similari can equip you with the tools to take informed risks regarding antimicrobial resistance drug discovery, research and development.  Using Similari’s AI engine, you can keep abreast of the latest emerging news, developments and insights in the sector.  Get in touch for a demo today to find out how Similari can help you identify lucrative gaps. 

How synthetic biology could change therapeutics

Life sciences is, frankly, an awe-inspiring space. Enter something that can sustainably and ethically engineer and redesign biological systems that don’t yet exist in nature: synthetic biology. Synthetic biology can enable the biosynthesis of drugs that are too complicated and expensive to produce with chemical engineering or drugs that rely on rare plants. There is, thus, enormous scope for the biotech industry to apply this to a range of therapeutic applications. Let’s explore more.

Synthetic biology will reshape our relationship with nature via bio-based products

As climate change threatens human life on Earth, people are reconsidering their relationship with the living world. Synthesis is a powerful approach to learning about and building in step with natural processes. 

In a briefing paper, the World Economic Forum noted that synthetic biology uses science and engineering expertise to design biologically-based parts, novel devices and systems, and redesign existing, natural, biological systems. 

The paper says that the broadest impact area is manufacturing bio-based products and the numerous applications of these products in health and well-being. It doesn’t end there – entrepreneurs are looking at opportunities in the food and feed, industrial chemicals and biofuel industries. 

Synthetic biology will drastically improve healthcare

Synthetic biology has tremendous potential to improve healthcare. Related devices can provide diagnostic tools and enable the design of novel strategies for treating cancer, immune diseases, metabolic disorders,  and infectious diseases, as well as the production of cheap drugs. It presents a significant opportunity for biotech entrepreneurs to develop new treatments and therapies that can improve patient outcomes. 

Synthetic biology is good for the environment

Synthetic biology enables circular manufacturing processes, transforming waste materials into valuable products. Using synthetic biology techniques, biotech entrepreneurs can develop innovative ways to convert carbon-rich waste materials into valuable products. This reduces the need for new raw materials. 

Synthetic biology can be used to improve drug discovery

Synthetic biology improves drug discovery by reorienting all steps of the drug discovery process, speeding up drug target discovery, enabling biosynthesis of drugs, and using synthetic gene circuits for drug target functional screening. Here’s how: 

Target discovery

It can speed up drug target discovery by using genetically-engineered cells to control the localization, timing, and dosage of therapeutic activities in response to specific disease biomarkers. Biotech entrepreneurs can therefore develop new tools and methods for studying disease mechanisms at a molecular level.


Synthetic biology can enable the biosynthesis of drugs that are too complicated and expensive to produce with chemical engineering or drugs that rely on rare, sometimes endangered plants. Biotech entrepreneurs could develop new methods for synthesizing lead compounds and drugs to treat diseases. 

Phenotypic screening

An exciting component of this novel process is that it can be used for drug target functional screening. It uses screening by using synthetic gene circuits capable of biological sensing and computation of signals derived from intracellular or extracellular biomarkers. By using synthetic biology techniques, biotech entrepreneurs can develop new methods for identifying drug targets and designing new treatment strategies for diseases. 

Synthetic biology strategies are investment ready

They are a rapidly emerging interdisciplinary research field built on the foundations of molecular biology and genetic engineering. We’re at a critical juncture.

This is where Similari adds value

Similari can equip you with the tools to take informed risks in the ever-growing field of synthetic biology. Similari’s deep data points meaningfully inform your R&D decision-making. Get in touch for a demo today to find out how Similari can help you identify true white spaces in the synthetic biology landscape. 

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.

Navigating life sciences M&A in 2023

There’s unprecedented firepower on the table

It’s an interesting year for M&A in the life sciences. The industry is emerging from a period of unprecedented turbulence, and there is currently approximately $1.4 trillion in firepower on the table – the highest amount of available capital for acquisitions recorded in the last decade. Analysts predict large-scale transformative dealmaking, and as life sciences organizations look to grow and future-proof their operations, strategic M&A will play an increasingly important role. 

Here’s a quick guide to navigating life sciences M&A in 2023.

M&A activity is on the rise in 2023

2022 saw a fairly muted year for M&A activity in the pharmaceutical industry. According to Bain & Company, strategic healthcare deals declined by over 30%, with average deal size dropping 15% despite some mega-deals in the fourth quarter. But so far, 2023 has delivered some key indicators that M&A is set to rebound. M&A activity increased by 43% in value terms in Q1 compared to the previous quarter’s total, a rise of 196% compared to Q1 2022. 

As the industry acclimatizes to macroeconomic uncertainties, analysts predict a number of factors will drive growth in this arena. The first is the surplus of cash on hand. The top 25 US firms had approximately $30 billion in cash on hand at the beginning of this year – enough to see some significant movement as the year progresses. To add to this, there are approximately $100 billion in patents set to expire by 2030, meaning pharma M&A activity is expected to rebound significantly in the immediate future as companies move to plug the gaps in their portfolios brought on by approaching patent cliffs. The looming patent cliff is estimated to put around $258 billion at risk as revenues are eroded by the introduction of lower-priced generics and biosimilars. 

The biggest deals of 2023 (so far)

There’s already been some significant M&A activity in the sector this year. 

In April, Merck acquired Prometheus Biosciences for $11 billion, adding an exciting experimental treatment for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease to its portfolio.

In March, Pfizer bought Seagen for $43 billion in what analysts predict will be the biggest deal of the year. The Seattle-based biotech startup is set to broaden the pharmaceutical giant’s oncology capabilities significantly.

Lastly, AstraZeneca is set to acquire American clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company CinCor for $2 billion, looking to boost its cardiorenal pipeline. 

Three steps to successful M&A dealmaking in 2023

In a guest column for Life Science Leader, Arda Ural lays out three strategies for successful M&A dealmaking in 2023. 

  1. Attempt to de-risk deals as far as possible

50% of M&A deals targeted pre-Phase 3 assets in 2022, suggesting that companies are moving towards earlier-stage assets, as opposed to de-risking by targeting late-stage, well-validated clinical assets. Assets that are earlier in the R&D lifecycle come at a lower price, which offsets the higher risk of failure. 

  1. Assess which deals have worked historically, and why

Ural suggests analyzing historical trends to isolate the highest areas of return. For example, bolt-on transactions have higher yields when the target company is in an adjacent therapeutic arena to the primary portfolio of the purchasing company. This suggests that depth and specialization are more lucrative than breadth. 

  1. Ensure the right processes are in place to integrate new acquisitions

According to Ural, M&A doesn’t end when the funds have cleared. A robust change management infrastructure must be in place to ensure the success of the deal in the long term. This includes measures for facilitating cultural collaboration, change management, integration and new workflows.

For the latest in M&A news and insights, choose Similari

The M&A landscape changes by the minute, and to keep abreast of the latest developments, researchers need a tool that analyzes the bigger picture, while customizing granular, relevant insights to their area of immediate interest. 

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

Reach out today to find out how Similari can help you spot trends as they’re shaped, sharpen your forecasting and keep absolutely up to date on competitor activity, minute by minute. 

How Real World Data (RWD) is modernizing the clinical trial

Big data is changing the trial game

As big data analysis capabilities have increased over the last five years, so have the possibilities for radically improving efficiency and success rates in clinical trials. Digital transformation at the level of general healthcare, including the prevalence of digitized records, the proliferation of data-capturing wearables market and other sources of patient-related information mean that researchers now have access to a range of invaluable data collected during patients’ normal course of care outside of the clinical trial setting. 

This Real World Data (RWD) presents a wealth of information about drug and treatment efficacy, and it’s changing the way clinical trials are designed and executed. Here’s why.

What is Real World Data?

The term Real World Data refers to health-related data generated during the course of a patient’s routine care or post-treatment life that relates to their health status. This data comes from sources outside of the clinical trial itself, such as healthcare records, insurance claims and billing activity, medication order records, or from the patient’s own data generation via wearables or other at-home medical devices. 

From Real World Data, researchers can synthesize Real World Evidence (RWE), which is the clinical evidence generated by the analysis of RWD that reflects the safety, efficiency, benefits and risks associated with the drug under testing.

What are the sources of Real World Data?

Real World Data can be sourced from any reliable point of origin outside of the clinical trial itself, many of which appear fairly unconventional. RWD sources include:

  • Clinical sources, including EHR records, pathology/histology data, discharge and progress reports. 
  • Medication sources, including order records, Point of Sale data, concomitant therapies and prescription refills. 
  • Claims, including medical and prescription drug claims, and other treatment usage data. 
  • Family history, including historical data on health conditions relating to the patient’s extended history, smoking in the household and alcohol use. 
  • Mobile health, including data gathered by fitness trackers and wearables delivering clinical-grade information on heart rate, PulseOx levels, sleep, calories and more. 
  • Social media, including patient support groups, blogs and posts. 
  • Environmental sources, including data on air quality, climate factors, community infections, and OHSA data. 

Real World Data applications

Real World Data is being applied in the drug discovery process in a number of important ways. 

Guiding pipeline and portfolio strategy

Pharmaceutical companies can use RWD to guide strategic decision-making, including estimating disease prevalence and incidence and predicting the scope of the potential patient population. Increasingly, researchers are bringing RWD into earlier phases of the product development process to help guide the allocation of resources and maximize the potential for success. 

Optimizing study design

Researchers can use RWD to optimize study design through advanced feasibility determinations, improved cohort recruitment and predictive enrichment, and lowering trial costs through the development of “synthetic” control arms built from pre-gathered RWD. Researchers are also using RWD to make more informed decisions regarding required enrollment sizes,  trial site selection and trial patient diversity. 

Post-launch safety and efficacy surveillance

RWD is emerging as an invaluable data source for post-launch drug safety and efficacy assessments. To assess the safety and efficacy of a drug, researchers need visibility of drug performance and potential associated risks across a longer period of time and against a broader scope of variables than possible during the limited time period of a trial.

How advanced data management is unlocking major value in the drug discovery pipeline

Clinical trials are producing more data than ever before, especially with the increasing use of RWD. The sheer volume of data being generated every day from clinical trials, M&A activity, press releases and publications has become impossible for human researchers to monitor and analyze effectively. 

Increasingly, pharmaceutical R&D teams are turning to AI-enabled data monitoring and insights management platforms to help them keep on top of the impenetrable data volume flooding their areas of research. Similari is one such platform. 

By monitoring millions of data points in a defined arena of inquiry, Similari is able to collate key insights which help inform data-driven decisions, identify true white spaces and avoid research duplication and dead ends. 

Find out how Similari can augment your R&D capabilities by trying a free demo today.