8 of the most innovative biotech start-ups in Europe right now

26 Sep 2019

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We round up some of the most exciting biotech start-ups across Europe, which are focusing on a variety of areas from cancer treatments to equine drugs.

Ahead of European Biotech Week, which will take place from the 23 to 29 September, we have rounded up some of the most innovative biotech start-ups across the continent.

The annual event raises awareness about the European biotechnology industry and there’s certainly plenty going on in this sector, with companies emerging everywhere, from Cork to Madrid.

Khonsu Therapeutics

Founded in Cork in 2017, Khonsu Therapeutics is a biotech company developing a novel biologic drug made from living cells to treat diseases caused by inflammation. Funded by Enterprise Ireland and Rebel Bio to the tune of €110,000 to date, the company is led by CEO Emer O’Shea.

Khonsu Therapeutics is developing medicine for animal health, with the goal of eventually launching drugs for human health when revenue is strong enough. Its biologic drug for the equine market eases lameness and arthritis in horses that are caused by inflammation.

Tilt Biotherapeutics

Founded in Finland in 2013, Tilt Biothereapeutics has raised €12.5m in funding already, with support from the EU Horizon 2020 fund, EASME, Lifeline Ventures, Tekes and Keksintösäätiô. The company’s CEO is Akseli Hemminki.

Tilt Biotherapeutics is developing a new treatment for cancer using oncolytic immunotherapy. The company is targeting advanced solid tumours, which are difficult to treat with the limited options on the market.

The company aims to tackle the significant unmet medical need and market potential in checkpoint inhibitor refractory solid tumours. It is launching its lead product, Tilt-123, in clinical trials soon.


With an undisclosed sum of investment from Per Falholt, INCluSilver, the Novo Nordisk Foundation and BioInnovation Institute, Danish biotech company Lactobio is led by CEO Søren Kjærulff and COO Charlotte Vedel.

It is a probiotic and microbiome company developing cosmeceuticals, dietary supplements and biotherapeutic products. Lactobio’s vision is to create a leading biotech company while developing innovative microbial products and concepts to fight bacterial infections, including multi-resistant bacteria.

Lactobio has built a proprietary discovery and screening platform that identifies the best probiotic strains to target microbiome dysfunctions associated with specific diseases.

Immunos Therapeutics

Founded in Switzerland in 2014, Immunos Therapeutics is led by CEO Sean Smith, CSO Dr Osiris Marroquin Belaunzaran and Dr Christoph Renner. The company has not publicly named any investors, but has said that it is currently seeking strategic collaborations.

Immunos is a clinical-stage biotech company focused on discovering and developing next-generation and novel human immunomodulatory proteins, with a role in both innate and adaptive immunity to improve the lives of patients with serious disease. The proteins Immunos studies are for cancer treatments, and do not only have direct anti-tumour effects, but also remodel the tumour microenvironment and enhance the efficacy of existing immunotherapies.

A spin-out of the University of Zurich and the University of Basel, the Immunos Therapeutics team has extensive expertise in the field of drug development and global commercialisation in immunotherapy, immunology and oncology.

Eligo Bioscience

This French start-up was founded in 2014 by David Bikard, Luciano Marraffini, Timothy Lu and Xavier Duportet. Since then, Eligo has raised $27.4m from EASME, Seventure Partners, Khosla Ventures, Worldwide Innovation Challenge and Agoranov.

The company has developed Eligobiotics, a new generation of antimicrobials that can be programmed to target bacteria based on their genome. Eligo provides a new approach to explore, understand and control bacterial ecosystems, both in humans and animals.

This can be used to selectively eradicate harmful pathogens from the microbiome while sparing beneficial ones.


Founded in Lund, Sweden, Carbiotix has raised €1.1m to date, with investment from EASME. It is a spin-out of the Department of Biotechnology at Lund University.

Founded by Kristofer Cook and Peter Falck, it is an award-winning pre-clincical stage therapeutics company leveraging low-cost gut health testing and microbiome modulators to unlock the potential of the gut microbiome to address a range of chronic and metabolic diseases.

Aurum Biosciences

Glasgow-based Aurum Biosciences was founded by CEO Jim Maguire. To date, the company has raised more than £3m from investors including Tricap Ltd, Scottish Investment Bank and Wellcome Trust.

Aurum Biosciences is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel oxygen carriers and proprietary software for use with MRI, initially for acute ischaemic stroke. Follow-on indications include heart disease, cancer, epilepsy and dementia.

Aurum has partnered with US firm Tenax Therapeutics to develop its diagnostic product, Oxycyte.


Spanish biotech start-up Biohope is based in Madrid. It was founded by Dr Isabel Portero who serves as both CEO and CTO of the company. According to CrunchBase, the company has raised €331,600 to date from investors including Richard Brage, Bifröst Health and Capital Cell.

Biohope is an R&D company dedicated to the development of precision medicine in vitro (IV) diagnostic tools. The firm’s lead product is Immunibiogram, a novel, patented IV diagnostic device that allows the optimisation of immunosuppressives. This product has the potential to be used in patients presenting with rheumatoid arthritis and has been in clinical studies since 2018.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic