Welcome to the 4th issue of Ten Companies to Watch – one of the most popular series on our blog! Here I pick and overview the most interesting new companies in stem cell/ cell therapy/ regenerative medicine field. I’m focusing on startups, but considering any other “under-appreciated” companies. As always – I’m open to your suggestions. Tell me why any particular company is different and worth our attention.
Ok, here is new list without particular order:
1. Unum Therapeutics
Cellular immunotherapeutic, clinical stage startup from Cambridge (MA), founded last year. The company develops cell therapeutic platform, based on so-called Antibody-Coupled T-cell Receptor (ACTR) technology. Competitive advantage of ACTR, compare to CART cell therapy, is possibility of creating “universal T-cells” for multiple targets. The action of ACTR is antibody-directed. The company has started clinical trial for hematological malignancies last year in Singapore.
UK-based startup, founded in 2011. The company is commercializing recell-decell approach to whole organ engineering for transplantation. Starting from hollow organs (trachea and small bowel), Videregen is planning to move to such complex solid organs as liver.
3. Sulfateq BV
Dutch startup, founded in 2011. The company attracted my attention via LinkedIn promotion of their innovative product Rokepie. This cell culture media supplement allows short-term cell biopreservation via hibernation. Rokepie is synthetic non-toxic product, which can keep your cells well in the cold for 1-3 weeks. So far – research use only, but clinical applications on a horizon. Learn more from this video.
4. SQZ Biotech
Startup company from Cambridge (MA), spin out of MIT, founded in 2013. The company makes microfluidic device (chip), which allows intracellular delivery of genetic material via mechanical squeezing of cells. It could potentially disrupt all known gene delivery platforms. It’s easy, fast and cheap. Read more here.
Bioprinting startup company from Philadelphia (PA), founded in 2014. Competitive advantage of Biobots, compare to other bioprinting companies is low-cost easy to use desktop bioprinter. The company is making an impact by democratizing bioprinting research via collaboration with multiple labs.
Newly formed startup from Cambridge (MA). The company is trying to combine and commercialize two very hot technologies – adoptive T-cell therapy and silencing of immune checkpoints by RNAi. The recent deal with RXi Pharmaceuticals captures my attention to the company.
7. Universal Cells
Pre-clinical stage, startup company from Seattle (WA), founded in 2013. The company can modify allogeneic therapeutic cells, making them “un-rejectable”. HLA expression altered by AVV-mediated genome editing.
8. Semma Therapeutics
Newly formed startup from Cambridge (MA). Spin out of Harvard U, which utilizes technology for manufacturing beta-cell therapeutic product for diabetes, developed in Doug Melton’s lab. This is the latest buzz from hot Cambridge hub. Read more here.
9. Spark Therapeutics
Gene therapy clinical stage company, spin out of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, founded in 2013. With good clinical results in treatment of genetic eye diseases (inherited retinal dystrophies) and Breakthrough Therapy Designation by FDA, the company rapidly progressed to Phase 3 pivotal trial. Their product is a good candidate to become the first approved gene therapy drug in US. This year company started from successful IPO.
10. Cell Habitats
US-based, pre-clinical stage, regenerative medicine company, founded in 2005. The company is utilizing regenerative cell therapy in situ approach by providing artificial niches for endogenous stem cells. Company’s biomaterial-based micro-sized compound Regenerods able to attract and stimulate growth of tissue resident stem cells.
Disclaimer: This list reflects solely my opinion and sympathy. I have no financial interest in companies, mentioned in this post. This post should not be considered as financial advice.