A retrospective look at FierceBiotech’s Top 15 biotechs for 2011

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Last September, we posted this blog on The Fierce 15, more specifically, on the 3 biotechs that focused on vaccines.  Looking retrospectively, do you think these 3 will remain a part of the Top 15? What changes do you think will occur?  How far forward have these companies developed in the past year?

Take a look below at what was written last year for a refresher:

The Fierce 15 – Class of 2011

Top 15 BiotechsThis year’s Fierce 15 says a lot about what it takes to succeed in biotech these days. Each one of these private life sciences companies is out to do something truly exceptional, looking to pioneering technology and innovative business models to improve odds that, let’s face it, would make most mortals cringe.

You’ll find in the following profiles a biotech billionaire with his own revolutionary dream for synthetic biology, startups out to make a name for themselves riding the wave of next-gen antibodies, a couple of companies that are into late-stage programs and several still in the pre-IND phase. They are for the most part making deals, grabbing venture cash and building companies. Although they won’t all go on to big buyouts or IPOs, they are taking their shot.

Amongst the 15 winners as picked out by Executive Editor Ryan McBride include 3 biotechs focused on vaccine development.

- Pfenex

Therapeutic proteins are tough to make. For starters, there’s a lot of time and money spent on developing a strain of an organism–such as a bacterium or yeast–to express quality recombinant proteins efficiently. Biotech upstart Pfenex has found big business opportunities in alleviating the pain of this process for stakeholders in the life sciences industry. And the company, which formed through a spinout of protein expression technology and assets from Dow Chemical ($DOW), has rapidly landed a variety of commercial deals since its inception in late 2009.

-Selecta Biosciences

Selecta’s scientific founders make up a techie’s dream team. MIT’s Bob Langer, a regularly featured player in the Fierce 15 and the intellectual force behind a long lineup of biotech companies, joined forces with Omid Farokhzad and Ulrich von Andrian of the Harvard Medical School to develop the drawing-board inspiration behind this innovative vaccine startup. And as is often the case with a Langer biotech, Polaris Venture Partners and Flagship Ventures worked together to seed the company. Additionally, they helped raise a total of $33 million in venture cash, the lion’s share of which arrived in two rounds just a year apart.

- Theraclone Sciences

The human body comes equipped with some of the best defensive weapons in existence. Theraclone was founded on the idea that the right kind of technology can isolate those few antibodies that can do the best job at guarding the host by flagging pathogens for elimination. And that includes those rare antibodies that can make some people essentially immune to the most lethal invaders. Once in their sights, Theraclone believes it can use these antibodies to chart a development course to new and highly effective therapies. Pfizer has jumped on board Theraclone’s ambitious antibody platform as the discovery-stage biotech goes about the business of creating new programs for cancer and bacterial pathogens. One team effort has even come up with a slate of antibodies that promise to neutralize a spectrum of HIV variants.

For the rest of the list and more on who made the Top 15 click here.

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