In 2021, global cell and gene therapy developers raised an all-time annual record. European businesses, on the other hand, were left out of the funding surge.
The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM), an advanced medicine advocacy organization, claimed in a conference this week that companies developing cell and gene therapies raised €20.1 billion ($23.1 billion) by 2021. This record-breaking haul outperformed the previous year’s sum of €17.3 billion ($19.9 billion) by 16 percent.
Companies in the United States drove the growth from 2020 to 2021. In comparison to 2020, US-based corporations saw a 53 percent increase in investments with a fresh €15.7 billion ($18 billion) in the bank. Their European competitors, on the other hand, raised €2.9 billion ($3.3 billion), or 8 percent less than in 2020.
Both European and US gene and cell therapy companies had record funding growth in 2020 compared to 2019. However, it’s too early to tell why European and Asian corporations haven’t been able to match the US’s high cash increase in 2021.
Nonetheless, the funding figures must be viewed in context, and European contributions to the area of cell and gene therapy continue to be enormous.
VC funding for cell and gene therapies surged the highest in 2021, with a massive 73 percent increase to €8.5 billion ($9.8 billion). This pattern paralleled the deluge of life sciences venture capital funding in the previous year.
Simultaneously, gene and cell therapy firms have been impacted by the same stock market turmoil that has afflicted the rest of the biotech industry. This mismatch is causing a capital shortage for VC companies and may limit exit possibilities.
When the total is broken down by the sorts of technology that have received financing, cell therapies in immuno-oncology, such as CAR-T cell therapies, have had the greatest rise in funding: a 26 percent increase since 2020. Following that were gene therapy companies, which received a 14 percent increase in funding, and tissue engineering companies, whose investments increased by 10 percent.
Outside of immuno-oncology, cell treatment businesses received 15 percent less funding in 2021 than they did in 2020, totaling €1.7 billion ($2 billion). Majors, on the other hand, told me that funding in this field has been fluctuating for several years.
The ARM’s research also highlighted the growing importance of gene-editing technologies. Companies developing gene-editing technology raised 45 percent of overall gene therapy funding, up from 38 percent in 2018.
Clinical breakthroughs from frontrunner gene therapy players in the last year have boosted investor interest in gene editing. The promising performance of an in vivo CRISPR treatment developed by Intellia Therapeutics and Regeneron in patients with the rare disease transthyretin amyloidosis was one example from June 2021.
Another positive outcome for gene and cell therapy in 2022 is the possibility of a record number of drug approvals. Several gene therapy hopefuls, including GenSight, uniQure, and BioMarin, are nearing the regulatory finish line in the United States and Europe.
However, delivering gene and cell therapies to their target in the body, as well as determining the proper dosage, will most certainly be important challenges for the industry. Manufacturing these sophisticated medicines is also a significant barrier that several businesses are attempting to address. In any case, European firms will continue to play a significant role in the advancement of cell and gene therapy.