Adapted from StartUs Insights.
Innovation Analysts from StartUs Insights recently looked into emerging technologies and analyzed 82 pharma startups tackling neglected tropical diseases and in their analysis, StratifiCare emerged as on of the top 5 startups to watch out for.
Heat Map: 5 Top Startups Tackling Neglected Tropical Diseases
For this research, StartUs Insights identified 82 relevant solutions and picked 5 to showcase below. The 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 above highlights 5 startups & emerging companies developing innovative pharma solutions for neglected tropical diseases. Moreover, the Heat Map reveals regions that observe a high startup activity and illustrates the geographic distribution of all 82 companies we analyzed for this specific topic.
StratifiCare – Predicting Severe Dengue
Dengue fever is one of the most common NTDs affecting millions of people every year. Even though the majority of the dengue infections are mild, severe forms of dengue often result in death. Accurate and early prediction of dengue disease progression significantly reduces the fatality risk associated with severe dengue.
StratifiCare provides a severe dengue prediction kit. It uses a set of proprietary biomarkers and a common laboratory assay platform. The solution is currently in the clinical development stage. The kit is able to deliver accuracy with 90% sensitivity and 97% specificity, in turn, reducing hospitalization costs.
Àvida Biotech – Oral Antiviral Vaccines
Neglected tropical diseases are prevalent in more than 100 countries and disproportionately affect poor people. The lack of proper infrastructure and trained professionals in these areas calls for the development of non-refrigerated and easily administrable vaccines against NTDs. These preventable diseases cause severe health and financial burden to the poor population. Ending the epidemic of neglected tropical disease by 2030 is also one of the targets of the UN-SDG’s health goals.
Spanish startup Àvida Biotech is working on vaccines based on a broad-spectrum antiviral to prevent NTDs such as dengue and chikungunya. They are developing oral, non-refrigerated vaccines using antivirals to maximize the reach and accessibility of vaccines. The startup is also working on in-vitro validation studies with different viruses.
mFluiDx – DNA-Based Diagnostic Test
A lack of affordable diagnostic assays and limited capacities at laboratories hinder the control and elimination of NTDs. Startups work to create easy-to-use molecular diagnostic assays based on nucleic acids. Such new techniques also perform with greater accuracy in comparison to conventional methods like symptom checking and paper-strip antibody tests.
The US-based startup mFluiDx offers a DNA-based diagnostic test. It combines nucleic acid diagnostics with vacuum-based microfluidics technology to enable multi-target testing. As a result of their technology, the diagnostic test offers a low-cost alternative to conventional PCR testing. It is also a highly sensitive and automated point-of-care diagnostic assay for the detection of infectious diseases.
Protinhi Therapeutics – Small Molecule Antiviral
Viral infections pose a great threat to the human population across the world. Millions of individuals get infected with viral NTDs every year and the emergence of novel diseases, like COVID-19, further amplifies the potential damages that face people living in NTD-prone regions.
Dutch startup Protinhi Therapeutics is creating a new class of geminoid protease inhibitors with applications in antiviral treatments. These small molecules first target viral proteases and later inhibit viral replication. The startup’s initial focus is on developing antivirals for dengue.
Venomyx Therapeutics – Snake Antivenom
Snakebite envenoming is also a lethal disease resulting from the injection of toxins into the body after a snake bite. People living in the rural tropics are more likely to be bitten by a snake, often causing permanent disabilities or even death. Snake antivenom immunoglobulins, available as monovalent or polyvalent formulations, prevent and reverse the effects of snake envenoming.
The US-based startup Venomyx Therapeutics develops a broad spectrum antivenom. The startup’s thermally-stable antivenom targets clinically-relevant toxins in snake venom using recombinant antibody fragments. The solution is currently under development. Venomyx also plans to release region-specific iterations of its antivenom.