AI clustering sheds light on the landscape of promising biotech startups in 2023
After preprocessing the company descriptions and vectorizing text descriptions of the biotech startups, principal component analysis (PCA) algorithms helped reveal four clusters. This separate scatter plot helps visualize the four groupings of biotech startups based on their areas of focus. The idea is that the clustering sheds light on the landscape and how the specialties of leading biotech startups stack up. Visible on the x- and y-axes, the principal components highlight major data patterns. They capture significant variance, condensing the complexity of high-dimensional data into a digestible format without sacrificing the essence of the original information. K-Means clustering, together with PCA, was instrumental in revealing these clusters as was term frequency–inverse document frequency (TF-IFD), which helped parse text descriptions of each company.
Here’s a view of the companies in each cluster. Some of the names have been abbreviated to fit.
- Cluster 0 is for advanced molecular techniques.
- Cluster 1 indicates a focus on cell and gene therapies.
- Cluster 2 is for AI-driven drug discovery.
- Cluster 3 indicates epigenetics and genomic medicine.
And below is a table highlighting the 30 promising biotech startups selected based on their funding milestones, the caliber of their investors and the novelty of their focus. The majority of the data was sourced from Crunchbase.
|Startup Name||Cluster||Funding Amount||Prominent Investors||Notes|
|Tempus||2||$1,345,000,000||Ares Management, Google, T. Rowe Price, Novo Holdings, Baillie Gifford, Franklin Templeton Investments, Franklin Templeton, Revolution, Revolution Growth, New Enterprise Associates||Tempus is integrating AI into healthcare to structure and analyze extensive clinical data, assisting physicians in personalized patient care. Their xT Platform aids in identifying targeted therapies for cancer patients. By 2023, Tempus has collaborated with Pfizer for therapeutic development using AI and partnered with Eli Lilly for genomic testing in thyroid cancer cases.|
|ElevateBio||1||$1,200,000,000||Matrix Capital Management, ITOCHU Corporation||ElevateBio specializes in cell and gene therapies, using biotechnologies. Their integrated approach includes R&D technology platforms like gene-editing, iPSC and RNA, as well as cell, protein, and vector engineering.|
|Biosplice Therapeutics||0||$778,000,000||Sands Capital Ventures, Eventide, aMoon Fund||Biosplice focuses on using alternative splicing to develop innovative therapies, particularly in osteoarthritis and oncology. Their significant work includes modulating the Wnt pathway by targeting the CLK/DYRK family kinases, with a notable phase 3 study on lorecivivint for knee osteoarthritis.|
|Insitro||2||$743,000,000||Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Andreessen Horowitz||Insitro merges machine learning and biology to enhance drug discovery, primarily by creating predictive models of human biology. A notable collaboration with Gilead Sciences in 2019 focused on treatments for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.|
|Neumora Therapeutics||0||$612,000,000||ARCH Venture Partners||Neumora Therapeutics specializes in treating neuropsychiatric diseases by targeting neurotransmitter systems, particularly the dopaminergic system.|
|Kriya Therapeutics||1||$600,500,000||Patient Square Capital, CAM Capital||Kriya Therapeutics, based in Palo Alto, focuses on developing transformative gene therapies. With over $600 million in funding, they are advancing treatments in areas such as ophthalmology, neurology, and metabolic diseases from their research hub in North Carolina.|
|Tessera Therapeutics||0||$531,800,000||Longevity Vision Fund, SALT Fund, Hanwha Impact Partners, March Capital, Alaska Permanent Fund, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Flagship Pioneering, SoftBank Vision Fund||Tessera Therapeutics pioneers the Gene Writing technology, a method that can correct genetic mutations and introduce new genetic data into cells. The firm believes the approach holds potential to transform therapeutic interventions for various diseases.|
|Valo Health||2||$460,000,000||Koch Disruptive Technologies, PSP Investments, Flagship Pioneering, HBM Healthcare Investments AG, E Squared Capital Management, Longevity Vision Fund, Atinum Investment, Mirae Asset Capital, Invus||Valo Health, based in Silicon Valley, uses its Opal Computational Platform to streamline drug discovery by combining AI with human data. Collaborations, including one with Kahn-Sagol-Maccabi Research and Innovation's Biobank, bolster Valo's mission to quickly bring effective drugs to patients.|
|ReCode Therapeutics||0||$422,000,000||Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Matrix Capital Management||ReCode Therapeutics is focused on treating life-limiting diseases caused by genetic mutations using its proprietary LNP-mRNA platform. This approach aims to target the genetic root causes of conditions like Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia and Cystic Fibrosis, offering potential new treatment avenues.|
|Generate Biomedicines||2||$420,000,000||Fidelity Management and Research Company, Morningside Venture Investments, T. Rowe Price, Altitude Life Science Ventures||Generate Biomedicines integrates machine learning with biological engineering to develop drugs using its Generative Biology platform. The company's approach, centered on creating on-demand therapies for specific medical needs, is further underscored by its 2022 collaboration with Amgen.|
|Benchling||2||$411,900,000||Lone Pine Capital, Franklin Templeton Investments, Altimeter Capital, Sequoia Capital Global Equities, Menlo Ventures||Provides the Benchling R&D Cloud, an integrated platform designed for biotech R&D, centralizing vast data and promoting team collaboration. Used by 200,000 scientists globally, it streamlines experimental designs, sample tracking, and offers advanced analytics capabilities.|
|Element Biosciences||0||$401,000,000||Fidelity Management and Research Company, JS Capital Management, T. Rowe Price, Venrock.||Element Biosciences specializes in genetic analysis tools, primarily through its AVITI System, a DNA sequencing platform known for accuracy and affordability. The firm has formed partnerships in 2023 with Agilent Technologies, Bio-Rad and Tecan to further its presence in genetic analysis.|
|Maze Therapeutics||0||$381,000,000||Terra Magnum Capital Partners, NS Investment||Maze Therapeutics focuses on utilizing human genetics to develop precision medicines for specific genetic conditions. Their primary tool, the Maze Compass Platform, integrates human genetic data with functional genomics and data science. Recently, through this platform, Maze introduced therapeutic candidates for Pompe disease, chronic kidney disease, and ALS. In 2023, they established a licensing agreement with Sanofi related to their GYS1 program for Pompe disease.|
|Cellares||1||$355,000,000||8VC, Koch Disruptive Technologies||Cellares specializes in cell therapy manufacturing as the inaugural Integrated Development and Manufacturing Organization (IDMO). With facilities in South San Francisco and Bridgewater, they blend advanced technologies to address global cell therapy demand and have garnered support from notable investors like Bristol Myers Squibb.|
|Pionyr Immunotherapeutics||0||$352,000,000||Gilead Sciences, Vida Ventures, Sofinnova Investments, New Enterprise Associates, OrbiMed, SV Health Investors||Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on developing cancer immunotherapies using their Myeloid Tuning technology to enhance the immune system's tumor defense. In 2023, Ikena Oncology acquired the company.|
|ADARx Pharmaceuticals||0||$332,000,000||Bain Capital Life Sciences, SR One, Ascenta Capital, OrbiMed, TCG Crossover||ADARx Pharmaceuticals, using its proprietary RNA targeting platform, addresses genetic, cardiometabolic, and CNS diseases. In 2023, they secured $200 million in Series C financing and began patient dosing for their Phase 1 clinical study of ADX-324.|
|Orna Therapeutics||0||$321,000,000||MPM Capital, BioImpact, Merck||Orna Therapeutics, based in Watertown, MA, focuses on pioneering treatments using their oRNATM technology, aiming to overcome the limitations of current immunotherapies. Their innovations include the isCARTM therapy for direct CAR delivery and a diverse pipeline targeting oncology, genetic diseases, and infectious ailments.|
|Chroma Medicine, Inc.||3||$260,000,000||Google Ventures, Cormorant Asset Management, Atlas Venture, Newpath Management||Chroma Medicine, specializing in epigenetics, aims to create single-dose genomic medicines with predictable and lasting effects. Using their innovative epigenetic editors, they manipulate the epigenome to directly control gene expression, offering a potential approach to address a wide range of diseases.|
|Triana Biomedicines, Inc.||2||$160,800,000||Atlas Venture, Lightspeed Venture Partners, RA Capital Management||Triana Biomedicines focuses on the development of molecular glues to promote protein interactions, potentially targeting previously undruggable proteins to treat diseases, especially cancer. Utilizing their proprietary protein pairing engine, they identify disease targets and explore chemical spaces to discover new molecular glues, aiming to harness the body's protein degradation system for therapeutic purposes.|
|Ambagon Therapeutics||3||$148,000,000||Nextech Invest||Ambagon Therapeutics is focused on developing medicines using the capabilities of 14-3-3 proteins, which play a role in numerous protein-protein interactions. By targeting previously elusive proteins and modulating existing ones, their "molecular glues" aim to address a wide range of therapeutic areas, including cancer and neurodegenerative conditions.|
|Satellite Bio||3||$101,500,000||Section 32, aMoon Fund||Satellite Bio is at the vanguard of regenerative medicine, bringing forth a transformative method to address diseases previously deemed incurable or lacking effective treatments. Their groundbreaking approach involves introducing living cells into the body, aiming to mend or even substitute vital organ functions. This innovative methodology is termed "Tissue Therapeutics." Through their Satellite Adaptive Tissues (SATs), Satellite Bio is embarking on a novel strategy of assembling healthy cells for therapeutic purposes, aiming to alter the trajectory of some of today's most challenging diseases. Their SAT Platform promises a suite of advanced cell-based therapeutic solutions tailored to combat a wide spectrum of diseases and ailments. Comprised of a dynamic, cross-disciplinary team, Satellite Bio is driven by a shared dedication to enhancing lives by spearheading a fresh dimension of regenerative medicine. Their mission also emphasizes the importance of strategic partnerships in furthering their technology and realizing the potential of Tissue Therapeutics. The company recently unveiled their pioneering Tissue Therapeutics, signaling a new dawn in bioengineered tissues that rejuvenate organ functions, offering hope across various diseases.|
|Seismic Therapeutic, Inc.||2||$101,000,000||Samsara BioCapital, Google Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners||Seismic Therapeutic, led by CEO Dr. Jo Viney, integrates machine learning in its immunology therapies discovery process, primarily through its proprietary IMPACT platform. The company's focus is on addressing diseases of the adaptive immune system, with a team that includes seasoned drug developers and academic founders.|
|Clade Therapeutics||1||$87,000,000||Emerson Collective, Syncona Partners LLP, LifeSci Venture Partners, Bristol Myers Squibb||Clade Therapeutics specializes in cell medicine, developing a platform that uses immune "cloaks" for human pluripotent stem cells, paving the way for advanced 'off-the-shelf' cell transplantation therapies. With a focus on utilizing "cloaked" immune cells for cancer treatment and expertise in generating stem cell-derived cells, Clade is positioning itself as a key player in accessible cell medicine.|
|Code Biotherapeutics, Inc.||0||$85,000,000||Northpond Ventures, 4BIO Capital, UPMC Enterprises||Code Biotherapeutics specializes in genetic medicine, aiming to offer solutions for individuals with challenging genetic diseases using its non-viral 3DNA delivery platform. This innovative technology aims to expand the reach of genetic medicine by introducing features like titratability, potential redosability, and the ability to address diseases linked to mutations in large genes.|
|Ansa Biotechnologies||0||$83,400,000||Northpond Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Humboldt Fund, National Science Foundation, Fifty Years, RA Capital Management, Peak 6, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Fiscus Ventures, Mubadala Capital Ventures, Carbon Silicon Ventures||Ansa Biotechnologies is innovating DNA production with an enzyme-based method, aiming to improve upon the traditional chemical method used for the past 35 years. Their approach seeks to enhance the speed, precision, and cleanliness of DNA manufacturing, potentially driving advances in biological research, therapeutics, diagnostics, and biomanufacturing.|
|Ceptur Therapeutics||3||$81,200,000||Qiming Venture Partners, venBio Partners||Ceptur Therapeutics, headquartered in Hillsborough, New Jersey, is centered around the U1 Adaptor technology for targeted oligonucleotide therapeutics, offering a potential avenue for treating genetic diseases. With a recent injection of $75M in Series A funding and guided by a robust scientific advisory board, the company is poised to advance its discovery pipeline and explore novel approaches to gene regulation.|
|Mariana Oncology||0||$75,000,000||Access Biotechnology, Atlas Ventures||Mariana Oncology is focused on developing precision radiopharmaceuticals, utilizing agents that accurately deliver radiation to tumor sites while sparing healthy tissues. Their approach, which blends tumor target biology with macrocyclic peptide-based drug discovery, ensures optimal tumor distribution systemic clearance, and a balance of radiochemistry, radiobiology and ligand design.|
|64x Bio||1||$59,500,000||Lifeforce Capital, Fifty Years, First Round Capital||64x Bio is focused on advancing cell line engineering by integrating high-throughput genome engineering, screening technologies, and computational tools. Their platform aims to optimize mammalian cell lines, especially for cell and gene therapies, enhancing the production of next-generation therapeutics.|
|Spatial Genomics||0||$56,000,000||12 West Capital, Fulgent Therapeutics||Spatial Genomics specializes in spatial analysis with an ambition to redefine scientific discovery across fundamental biology, precision medicine, and drug development.|
|Epic Bio||3||$55,000,000||Not available||Epic Bio specializes in epigenetic editing with a goal to create therapies that modify gene expression within cells for diseases not addressed by current genetic medicines. Their pipeline includes candidates like EPI-321 for Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy and others targeting conditions such as Retinitis Pigmentosa.|
Filed Under: Biologics, Cell & gene therapy, Data science, machine learning and AI