Our watch list for 2017

2017 looks set to be a year of great promise for breakthroughs in medical research and technology, bringing new treatments to the fore which could transform the lives of thousands of people across the world. At Paramount, we make it our job to keep our finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the life sciences sector but if you haven’t got time to do your research, here’s our cheat sheet of the ones to watch in 2017.

CRISPR

Despite missing out on the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2015, CRISPR is certainly one development tipped for future success. CRISPR is a gene editing system which can be used for therapeutic purposes in a range of different research areas. Two of the scientists responsible for the development of CRISPR – Emmanel Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna – were awarded the $3m ‘Breakthrough Prize’ (backed by Google, Facebook and Alibaba), and their biotech companies, Crispr Therapeutics and Intellia respectively, are surely ones to watch in 2017.

Enterome, Paris

This French biotech company has already raised around €17.5m in venture capital to fund work on its Microbiome platform for inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s. The company is already using advanced metagenomic tools and screening technologies to identify bacterial strains, genes and products which have anti-inflammatory or immune-modulatory properties. Enterome already has a number of high profile partners and many more are lining up to work with them on their ground-breaking work.

Kymab, Cambridge

Awarded the London Stock Exchange techMARK ‘Emerging Star’ award for excellence in June 2015, Kymab is generating a lot of interest in the life sciences sector and beyond. With its unique approach to testing antibodies – the Kymouse Platform – this British biotech has advanced drug and vaccine discovery in a range of key medical research areas including HIV, malaria, cancers and auto-immune diseases. Kymab has significant financial backing, including funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, so we are expecting big things in 2017. 

Glucose monitoring

The days of monitoring glucose levels by finger pricking may be well and truly numbered as medical research meets technology to find needle free alternatives for diabetics. These include a device from GlucoSense which can register glucose concentration in the blood using a special silica glass with ions; NovioSense’s 15mm long metal coil coated in a hydrophilic gel which is placed in the eye lid to read glucose levels in tear fluid; and of course the Google Lens. This is currently under development with Novartis, and is a contact lens which can monitor glucose levels. With biotech’s working closely with material sciences and electronics, the future of glucose monitoring for diabetics could be very exciting indeed. 

Therapeutic mRNA

This emerging field is one that many biotech start-ups are getting in to and definitely worth keeping updated on. This relatively new study of cellular biology focuses on targeting single molecules of mRNA before it produces proteins responsible for certain diseases, which is considered less dangerous than editing at a gene level to replace a mutation. There is great potential for this approach to overtake the use of biologicals and chemicals in medicine, and go another step closer towards using the human body to treat itself.

Paramount is already working with Kymab and Enterome, along with many other companies making waves in the life sciences sector. If you are looking for the right people to take your innovations onto the watch list, or you want to be part of the next big thing, give us a call.

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12th January

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