5 Top Specialty Pharma Startups Impacting The Industry

5 Top Specialty Pharma Startups Impacting The Industry

We analyzed 118 specialty pharma startups impacting the industry.​ Univo Pharmaceuticals, Alphamab Oncology, OKYO Pharma, Bridge Biotherapeutics & Cyxone develop 5 top solutions. 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 industry. 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 specialty pharma startups.

Heat Map: 5 Top Specialty Pharma Startups

Using our StartUs Insights Platform, covering 1.116.000+ startups & emerging companies, we looked at innovation in the field of pharma. For this research, we identified 118 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 specialty pharma solutions. Moreover, the Heat Map reveals regions that observe a high startup activity and illustrates the geographic distribution of all 118 companies we analyzed for this specific topic.


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Which startups develop the other 113 solutions?


Univo Pharmaceuticals – Medical Cannabis

Specialty pharma companies usually work with biologics to produce prescription drugs that require additional care during their production or administration. Medical cannabis is rapidly growing in popularity for the specialty pharma industry, aided by legalization in the United States. However, startups from countries across the world are developing cannabis-based solutions for treating a variety of illnesses. Some of the promising results of medical cannabis are seen in treating nausea during chemotherapy, improving appetites for HIV-AIDS patients, as well as for severe forms of epilepsy.

Israeli startup Univo Pharmaceuticals is a vertically-integrated medical cannabis company covering all aspects of cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution. The startup combines expertise in chemistry, analytical chemistry, biomedicine, and pharmaceuticals to create dosage form products for medical cannabis. The formulations combine cannabis with a variety of potent medicinal herbal extracts. Univo’s products aim to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), skin lesions, oral cavity infections, and hemorrhoids.

Alphamab Oncology – Cancer Biopharmaceuticals

Traditional pharmaceutical treatments for cancer face challenges from a patient standpoint, such as the effect of treatments on lifestyle and mental health, among others. Over the past few years, biopharmaceutical solutions, that prevent remission or inhibit tumor growth, have become popular. Emerging pharma startups look to address the challenges facing biologics-based cancer treatments.

Chinese startup Alphamab Oncology is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical startup working on the discovery, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of innovative therapeutics for cancer treatment. The startup’s bispecific and mixed-antibody technology platforms allow them to integrate multiple distinct therapies into one molecule or one chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) process. This solution shows significant potential to improve the efficacy and safety of future cancer treatments.

OKYO Pharma – G Protein-Coupled Receptor (GCPR) Technology

GPCRs are a large family of cell surface receptors that respond to a variety of external signals. GPCRs help regulate a wide range of bodily functions, from sensation to growth and hormone responses. Pharma companies are currently working on methods to modulate the cell pathways downstream of G protein activation. GPCRs are also important drug targets as they present a viable opportunity to develop remedies for ailments, such as allergies, and for chronic pain management.

British startup OKYO Pharma focuses on novel GPCR-based therapeutics for underserved eye diseases and non-opioid analgesics for chronic pain. The startup uses its GPCR technology platform to develop solutions that target the inflammatory pathways to treat dry eye syndrome, uveitis, and allergic conjunctivitis. They also develop an agonist for Mas-Related GPCR, a non-opioid analgesic, for ocular and chronic pain management using topical and nasal formulations.

Bridge Biotherapeutics – Ulcerative Colitis Treatment

Irritable bowel disease (IBD), or chronic idiopathic inflammation of the digestive tract, affects millions of people around the world every year. There are two forms of IBD, the deeper Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In the latter form, the inflammation is continuous, widespread, and disturbs the superficial mucosal layer of the large intestine or the colon. In addition to having no known cure, IBD treatment is also considerably expensive, from diagnostic imaging to medications.

South Korean startup Bridge Biotherapeutics develops BBT-401, a once-daily orally administered pellino-1 protein inhibitor. The drug is in phase II clinical trials and is under development as a treatment for ulcerative colitis. BBT-401 does not undergo systemic absorption and activates only in the digestive tract. This limited distribution looks to eliminate the side effects of inhibiting systemic inflammation by allowing selective suppression of inflammations at the site of the disease.

Cyxone – Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases affect millions of people all over the world. There is still a high degree of uncertainty over their causes and the numerous ways in which they manifest. Existing medications and treatments focus on reducing inflammation or suppressing the immune response. With advancements in research and development, startups are working on novel techniques to tackle autoimmune diseases. These range from increasing immune tolerance and monoclonal antibodies to T-regulatory cell and gene therapies.

Swedish startup Cyxone is a clinical biotech company with a portfolio of immunomodulating drugs for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. The startup’s drug portfolio is based on two technological processes: oral molecules and cyclotide-based drugs. This combination aims to inhibit key processes in the body’s cells that are typically associated with immune-related disorders.

What About The Other 113 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 specialty pharma solutions showcased above are promising examples out of 118 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria, get in touch.

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