5 Top Cell Therapy Startups Impacting The Pharma Sector

We analyzed 229 cell therapy startups impacting the pharma sector. BlueRock Therapeutics, Rexgenero, Allogene Therapeutics, Treefrog Therapeutics, Membio develop 5 top solutions to watch out for. Learn more in our Global Startup Heat Map!

Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on solutions for the pharma sector. As there is a large number of startups working on a wide variety of solutions, we want to share our insights with you. This time, we are taking a look at 5 promising cell therapy startups.

Heat Map: 5 Top Cell Therapy Startups

Using our StartUs Insights Platform, covering 1.116.000+ startups & emerging companies, we looked at innovation in the field of cell therapy. For this research, we identified 229 relevant solutions and picked 5 to showcase below. These companies were chosen based on a data-driven startup scouting approach, taking into account factors such as location, founding year, and technology among others. Depending on your specific criteria, the top picks might look entirely different.

The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 5 startups & emerging companies developing innovative cell therapy solutions. Moreover, the Heat Map reveals regions that observe a high startup activity and illustrates the geographic distribution of all 229 companies we analyzed for this specific topic.


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Which startups develop the other 224 solutions?


Rexgenero – Autologous Therapy

Cell therapy involves the injection of viable cells to replenish a patient’s diseased or depleting cells for the treatment of certain medical conditions. Autologous therapy enables the processing of a patient’s cells or tissues outside the body and allows for a subsequent re-introduction. Since autologous therapy uses cells from the patient, there is no risk of any adverse immune response.

Rexgenero is a British startup that develops cell therapies for unmet medical needs. The lead product REX-001 is an autologous bone marrow-derived cell suspension rich in white blood cells. The therapy helps in the treatment of chronic limb ischemia (CLI) as it delivers immune and progenitor cells directly to the diseased vessels in the lower leg. This solution is clinically validated and currently undergoing phase 3 trials.

Allogene Therapeutics – Allotransplantation

While autologous therapies are produced specifically for each patient, mass-scale manufacture is needed for off-the-shelf therapies. Allotransplantation or allogeneic therapy involves the use of mass-produced, and therefore readily available, cells from unrelated donors. This therapy also enables the treatment of old patients, who often have comorbidities, with cells from young and healthy individuals. However, these therapies need to minimize the risk of an immune response to be viable.

Allogene Therapeutics is a US-based company that develops allogeneic therapies for cancer. The solution uses cells from healthy donors to offer allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor T cell (AlloCAR-T) therapy. The solution eliminates T cell receptors (TCR) in donor cells to prevent graft vs. host disease (GvHD). The startup’s pipeline includes therapies for hematological malignancies and solid tumors, as well as a lymphodepletion agent.

BlueRock Therapeutics – Engineered Cell Therapy

Advancements in cell therapy have been concurrent with the emergence of new and improved gene-editing technologies. Before being introduced back, precise genetic manipulation in patient-derived cells enable therapies that delete a harmful gene or introduce or supplement a beneficial one. Startups now offer engineered cell therapies for cancers, hematologic disorders, and skin disorders, to name a few conditions.

The US-based startup BlueRock Therapeutics specializes in engineered cell therapy for regenerative medicine. The startup uses proprietary bioprocessing and manufacturing techniques to create master cell banks from healthy donor cells. These are amenable to differentiation methods that turn them into differentiated cell lines for applications in neurology, cardiology, and immunology. The startup’s solutions replace cells, restore function, and reverse disease states.

TreeFrog Therapeutics – Stem Cell Therapy

The state of stem cell research has significantly advanced in the last few years. This has opened up therapeutic applications for a range of medical conditions, such as diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, heart diseases, and aging. With induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), pharma startups and companies now transform even differentiated cell lines into another cell line. This necessitates solutions that mimic the extracellular environment to promote the growth and proper differentiation of stem cells in bioreactors.

French startup TreeFrog Therapeutics offers a stem cell therapy platform. C-Stem enables 3D stem cell culture to mass-produce cells for therapy. The platform uses microfluidics and a droplet generation system to encapsulate pluripotent stem cells within small alginate capsules. Stimulation of the stem cells helps differentiate target cell lines within the bioreactor. The dissolution of the alginate layer yields induced pluripotent stem cells. The solution is enabling a pipeline of therapies for Huntington’s disease, heart failure, and diabetes.

Membio – Synthetic Blood

Blood transfusion is a well-established cell therapy and has use cases for a range of health conditions such as anemia, serious injuries, and surgical procedures. However, blood from donors is often inadequate to match the requirement for transfusions. Transfusions also carry the risk of infection from poor handling or unavailability of testing kits. Synthetic blood, produced without donors, offers a scalable alternative.

Membio is a Canadian startup that employs biomanufacturing to produce synthetic blood. The startup derives specialized cell lines from hematopoietic stem cells that enable unlimited production in a sustainable and scalable way. The fully functional red blood cells are identical to those produced in human bodies but are pathogen-free and universally acceptable. Synthetic blood is also longer-lasting, thereby minimizing the number of transfusions required.

What About The Other 224 Solutions?

While we believe data is key to creating insights it can be easy to be overwhelmed by it. Our ambition is to create a comprehensive overview and provide actionable innovation intelligence so you can achieve your goals faster. The 5 cell therapy startups showcased above are promising examples out of 229 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria, get in touch.

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