We live in a world where technology is in a constant state of evolution and nowhere is this more evident than innovative biotechnology and digital therapeutics.
What is biotechnology?
At its simplest, biotechnology is technology based on biology – biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet.
In medicine, biotechnology companies focus on novel drug development and clinical research aimed at treating diseases and medical conditions.
This may sound very broad, but it is important to break it down and look at some of the exciting opportunities within the biotech and digital therapeutic space we are seeing at o2h ventures:
The study and development of treatments that take advantage of the body’s immune system to fight cancer. Our growing understanding of the health benefits of a balanced immune system has led to the development of immunotherapies as a treatment approach for many types of cancer, as well as innovation in other disease areas.
Refocus on Antibiotics
The rapid evolution of many bacteria to become resistant to many of the current widely used antibiotics has highlighted antimicrobial resistance is a global health and development threat. Without new classes of effective antimicrobials, the success of modern medicine in treating infections, including during major surgery and cancer chemotherapy, would be at increased risk.
One of the biggest challenges is to find successful treatments to help patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases (i.e. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s etc.). The application of machine learning and artificial intelligence provides better understanding of the key drivers for these diseases and whether they are generic or limited to specific sub-populations. This will help identify the best strategies and treatments for individuals.
Broadly, genetics is the study of genes, their variations and hereditary characteristics. As Live Science describes it, genetics involves looking at how traits are passed on through generations. When it comes to genetics investing, companies in this niche life science sector are focused on four areas –
Working out the make up the DNA molecule. Using chemical building blocks in order to determine their sequence allows scientists to understand what type of genetic information a section of DNA holds.
An approach that uses a person’s genes to treat or even prevent diseases. There are several different kinds of gene therapy, such as replacing a mutated, disease-causing gene with a healthy version of the gene, getting rid of a mutated gene that isn’t working properly and even introducing a new gene into the body to fight off diseases.
The overarching study of all of a person’s genes. It includes how those genes interact both with one another and with a person’s environment.
Medical devices covers a wide range of health and medical instruments used in the treatment, mitigation, diagnosis and prevention of diseases and physical conditions. As modern medicine is rapidly advancing, medical device development must keep up.
As we look to the future there are some key trends that will support investments in biotech in the UK:
UK biotech holds many of the solutions to today’s most urgent global challenges, from fighting pandemics and climate change to building sustainable energy and food sources.
UK biotech enjoys strong government support and with record levels of private and public investment poured into biotech over the last decade, the sector’s position as a key strategic sector is only set to continue after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Large, multinational pharmaceutical firms that distribute most medicines across the globe are developing fewer new drugs in-house. This is making them eager buyers of biotech assets, which account for a growing majority of the overall drug development pipeline.*
Investing in Biotechnology
Biotechnology has been classified a risk-taking enterprise, however it is about managing and diversifying risk across a fund.
At o2h we are in a prime position to use our strategic access and incubation policy to attract some of the most exciting opportunities.