Berlin is famous for its wall, the Brandenburger tor and the TV Tower. It’s also famous for being the European Startup hotspot with London. But what about Biotech?
Yes, it’s less famous for this aspects but it’s actually very comparable to Munich, Cambridge or Paris. However, we made a Labiotech Tour documentary on the Northern Germany biotech industry (which featured heavily in Berlin) and I’ve now tried to select 5 Berlin-based Biotech companies that everybody in Europe (and in the rest of the world) should know.
Berlin is growing as a massive Biotech hub, in part thanks to prestigious University of Medicine here (Charité), which is flanked by other world-class institutions (Humboldt University, Technische, Free University of Berlin etc.) and a thriving start-up scene.
The most well-funded Biotech here at the moment is Glycotope, a biotech which has raised over €135M since its start in 2001, now made up by over 200 employees. They have also just picked a new CEO Paul Higham (former CEO of Immatics) to manage the growth in the coming years.
What do they do? Glycotope’s speciality, as you could have guessed by its name, is glycosylation of proteins (i.e. chemical addition of a carbohydrate group).
Glycotope also owns a GMP manufacturing plant to produce biomolecules in Heidelberg, and develops its own first-in-class drugs as well improving biologicals for industry (i.e. best-in-class).
Noxxon Pharma may be the next German Biotech to make an IPO in Europe – it announced its intention and is waiting for the right window. That makes it even more important for the Berlin and German Biotech Industry, especially in regards to the actual financial climate.
Noxxon is developing Spiegelmers for immuno-oncology, targeting the environment of the tumor rather than the tumor itself. Specifically, this new class of therapeutics is designed to combine the benefits of small chemical molecules and biologicals (such as antibodies).
Spiegelmers can be manufactured chemically, so therefore do not require complex biological production processes and Noxxon has established quality control methods for optimal GMP standard production.
Epigenomics is a cancer diagnostic company based in the south of Berlin. The company is also publicly listed, worth €90M (compared to the €140M it raised so far) but the approval on the american market could bring truly added value.
The German-American biotech is carrying out its trial for Epi proColon, its non-invasive blood-based test for colorectal cancer(CRC) screening, making it a real source of German competition for the diagnostics field (where Illumina just moved in).
The test looks to sample blood for certain cancer biomarkers as opposed to the traditional stool tests, and is already on the European market and awaiting FDA approval.
Adrenomed is a rather young Biotech company.
It is active in the field of Sepsis (when an infection overruns the immune system, leading to organ failure). This critical condition is life threatening, and represents a highly unmet medical need, despite the fact that not so many companies are working in the field.
It is launching its Phase I human trials with its monoclonal antibody to target the Adrenomedullin protein (reduction of which is indicated in reduced septic shock) and hope to have a significant impact on the field.
Having partnered with various European research institutions, medical centres and industry specialists, it is not surprising to see that Mologen (an immunotherapy and immuno-oncology specialist) is now the latest Biotech under the wing of MD Anderson in Texas (US).
As another famous Biotech company here in Berlin, Mologen is publicly listed on the Frankfurt stock market, worth around €100M. It’s original on the basis is has been publicly listed since day 1; and has phase III trials as well as a comprehensive pipeline.
Note: There are no particular criteria of selection neither any order in the ranking, it’s very much my own list. And sorry in advance for those which didn’t make it into the list, maybe next time…
These are the 5 companies I would tell anyone asking me “What are the Biotech companies I should know in Berlin”. Now, you know them too…Now, my turn to ask. Did you already know them? Who else would you add?