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 take a look at 5 promising vaccine startups.
Heat Map: 5 Top Vaccine Startups
For our 5 top picks, we used a data-driven startup scouting approach to identify the most relevant solutions globally. The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 5 interesting examples out of 340 relevant solutions. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.
GPN Vaccines – Whole-Cell Vaccine
A whole-cell vaccine contains living attenuated bacteria or viruses. The microbes are too weak to cause any illness in most healthy people, but the antibodies produced in response make patients immune to subsequent infections. Advances in genetic modification allow startups to precisely modify existing microbes to present antigens against a broad spectrum of strains in a single vaccine.
Australian startup GPN Vaccines offers a vaccine for pneumonia. The startup sterilizes its proprietary, engineered, and avirulent strain of S. pneumoniae with gamma-rays to produce Gamma-PNTM, a whole-cell vaccine. The vaccine induces broad-spectrum immunity against the antigens of the pneumococcus bacterium and is effective against different pathogenic pneumococcal strains.
Activirosomes – Virosome Based Vaccine
An alternative to using whole cells for vaccine development involves presenting a specific component of the microbe. This provokes a very strong immune response that targets a particular protein, sugar, or capsid on the pathogen. Moreover, such subunit vaccines are administrable even to people with weakened immune systems since there is no risk of infection.
The UK-based startup Activirosomes develops vaccines for viral infections. The company leverages Active Virosome technology to generate non-replicating derivatives of measles and other related viruses. The virosome-based vaccine carries only the viral genes required to elicit an immune response. The startup’s pipeline includes multivalent vaccines to treat Zika, chikungunya, and cancers in the early stages of development.
Osivax – T-Cell Vaccination (TCV)
Vaccines stimulate B-cells to produce antibodies, but they are sometimes inefficient to mount a strong enough defense against complex pathogens. Killer T-cells play an important role in the immune system as they actively seek and destroy infected cells. Vaccines that generate a strong T-cell immune response deliver greater efficacy and wider microbial coverage against infectious diseases.
Osivax, a French startup, creates T-cell vaccination solutions. oligoDOM®, the startup’s proprietary platform, combines virus-like particles and a positively charged tail that enhance antigen presentation and stimulate CD8 T-cell responses, respectively. The startup’s pipeline includes vaccines against the universal flu (intramuscular and intranasal variants), broad-spectrum coronavirus, malaria, and human papillomavirus (HPV).
Providence Therapeutics – mRNA Cancer Vaccines
Traditionally, vaccines are prophylactic, or preventive, measures that confer immunity against a particular illness. Therapeutic vaccines, however, confer immunity and boost the immune system in its response against existing conditions. These vaccines find applications in cancer treatment where they destroy any tumor cells remaining after therapy to prevent cancer recurrence and inhibit metastasis.
Canada-based Providence Therapeutics develops personalized messenger ribonucleic (mRNA) cancer vaccines. The startup sequences tumors in patient samples to identify targets that are likely to drive an immune response and develop patient-specific mRNA formulations in lipid nanoparticles. One inside the cells, the mRNA translates into proteins which, in turn, induce an immune response.
2A Pharma – Vaccine Platform
The threat of epidemic or pandemic outbreaks necessitates the need for vaccine platforms that enable rapid discovery and development of required vaccines. A vaccine platform features either viral vectors, nucleic acids, or cell-line expression systems for antigen expression. Regardless of the underlying technology, such a platform offers a singular system that generates multiple separate antigens as potential vaccine candidates.
Swedish startup 2A Pharma discovers and develops cost-effective prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines. The startup’s vaccine platform is based on mutated paroviral particles that are devoid of any viral genome. The particles have two sites where peptide sequences can be inserted. This allows for the use of the platform to generate either monovalent or bivalent vaccines, as required.
What About The Other 335 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 for your Proof of Concept (PoC), partnership, or investment targets. The 5 vaccine startups showcased above are promising examples out of 340 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria and collaboration strategy, get in touch.