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Small Biotechs Progressing Beyond Startup Status

Posted on November 29th, 2018 by in Pharma R&D


When is a startup no longer a startup? Small biotech companies armed with a talented crop of scientists have been springing up all across the pharma landscape for the last several years, establishing buzzing hubs of innovation. Not all of them find their research efforts successful, but many do and then go on to be acquired by larger pharmaceutical firms that have the resources to bring their ideas to fruition. Some small biotechs, though, finally start growing beyond their startup status and begin to come into their own as they move their drugs further along the development stages.

One such company is Arctic Pharma, an Oslo-based biotech that has a unique approach to anticancer therapies. Founded in 2012, Arctic Pharma initially had few resources to move its big ideas forward, but under the leadership of CEO Dr. Claudia McDonald Bøen, the company has made leaps and bounds over the last couple years. At this point, they are readying to test their compounds in animal studies – an incredible milestone.

The accelerated pace came with the addition of more expert scientists to the team, and also with access to better tools to do their work. Arctic Pharma was one of a select group of participants in the first phase of The Hive, Elsevier’s initiative to empower early-stage drug discovery firms with the complimentary use of their R&D Solutions. ScienceDirect and Reaxys have been especially helpful to the Artic team, for everything from keeping up with the latest literature to evaluating synthetic pathways. As they progress to animal studies, PharmaPendium will also be important for designing studies.

4P-Pharma, which is a part of the current Hive cohort, has also been experiencing rapid progress. Based in France, the company was established with a mission to meet “the urgent need to increase the number of innovative therapeutics entering the developing drug pipeline for cancer and inflammatory disease,” as 4P’s Luigi Formicola explains in this blog post. The company’s innovative partnership model (described in detail here) is designed to help bridge the gap between discovery and market, and now 4P-Pharma is already moving into preclinical and clinical phases with some of its technologies.

It’s an exciting time for early-stage research, with so many ambitious, innovative young companies taking on big challenges with gusto. It is all the more exciting to watch as companies like Arctic Pharma and 4P-Pharma surpass the earliest stages and move further along the path to success.

Learn more about Arctic Pharma’s work in the case study “Developing pioneering cancer treatments,” available here.




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