Europe’s techbio startups have been no stranger to the downturn, raising around 38% less funding in 2022 than the year before, according to Dealroom. But that hasn’t stopped some of them ramping up hiring in the last 12 months.
That’s especially true in the UK, which boasts three of the 10 fastest-growing companies in the techbio industry, according to Dealroom data. Hot on the UK’s heels are Switzerland and Sweden.
Below are the 10 fastest-growing techbio startups in Europe the past 12 months, based on headcount growth — to ensure the growth of small teams didn’t skew results, companies had to have raised at least $50m to be considered.
Team growth past 12 months: 93% to 81 employees
Last raised: $140m Series B in January 2022
Total funding: $184m
Netherlands-based Leyden Labs focuses on the prevention of both new and known respiratory diseases by developing nasal sprays powered with infection-fighting antibodies. The spray offers antiviral protection in the nasal cavity — one of the main gateways through which viruses enter — to reduce the chance of catching illnesses, and is currently being tested in clinical trials.
Team growth past 12 months: 82% to 20 employees
Last raised: SEK240m ($22m) private placement VC
Total funding: $59.3m
Swedish techbio Cinclus Pharma’s research focuses on the treatment of diseases related to gastric acid, by developing small molecules designed to help patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux diseases (GERDs) manage their symptoms. GERDs typically express themselves in the form of heartburn, but more serious cases can cause painful ulcerations or oesophageal erosion. Its Linaprazan glurate molecule, which controls the production of gastric acid, is set to enter the third phase of clinical trials this year.
Team growth past 12 months: 75% to 28 employees
Last raised: $61m Series A in September 2021
Total funding: $61m
Anjarium Biosciences is developing DNA-based gene therapies to treat genetic diseases that are more predictable and inclusionary than current methods. It’s got investors like Pfizer Ventures, GIMV and Omega Funds on its cap table.
Team growth past 12 months: 69% to 54 employees
Last raised: $76m Series A in April 2022
Total funding: $76m
Based in Switzerland, CDR-Life is working on cancer immunotherapies that target tumour-specific antigens, using the body’s immune system to fight malignant cells. This new form of treatment hopes to reduce the negative side effects that existing options, which can damage non-tumour cells, can have.
Team growth past 12 months: 67% to 60 employees
Last raised: $80m Series A in December 2021
Total funding: $95.8m
A spinout from the UK’s King’s College London, AviadoBio develops gene therapies to treat, slow and potentially prevent neurodegenerative diseases. The startup has seen investment from investors like EQT Life Sciences and Johnson & Johnson Innovation.
Team growth past 12 months: 55% to 113 employees
Last raised: $15.5m Series B in July 2022
Total funding: $68.4m
Equipping drug discovery companies with the tools to create their own target proteins, the UK’s Nuclera’s eProtein Discovery instrument helps teams prototype proteins within 48 hours, rather than the weeks it currently takes to outsource production.
Coave Therapeutics (formerly Horama)
Team growth past 12 months: 67% to 35 employees
Last raised: $25.1m series B in July 2021
Total funding: $54.3m
France-based Coave Therapeutics is developing a platform to help produce gene therapies for both rare and common diseases, with an initial focus on neurodegenerative and ocular illnesses.
Team growth past 12 months: 63% to 26 employees
Last raised: €50m ($53m) Series A in February 2022
Total funding: $56.9m
Splice Bio is developing gene therapeutics using engineered protein splicing, with a lead programme focusing on treatments for the genetic eye illness Stargardt disease. Its Series A round saw investors like Ysios Capital, Novartis Venture Fund and UCB Ventures pitch in.
Team growth past 12 months: 47% to 72 employees
Last raised: $100m Series B in January 2022
Total funding: $140m
UK-based Ori Biotech aims to make cell and gene therapy manufacturing cheaper and easier for companies, in order to make these treatments accessible to more people. Its platform automates and standardises the production of treatments to streamline the complicated manufacturing process and make scaling developing therapies easier. Investors backing the company include Amadeus Capital Partners, Kindred Capital and Octopus Ventures.
Team growth past 12 months: 44% to 23 employees
Last raised: $67m in April 2018
Total funding: $67m
Swedish company ITBMed is developing a treatment option for organ transplant recipients that eliminates the need for immunosuppressants (which are taken to reduce the risk of the body rejecting the new organ) following transplantation.