10 next-gen biologics platforms to watch

First-generation biologics took a long time to reach their commercial potential, with many setbacks along the way. The test of faith among biotech companies such as Amgen ($AMGN), Genentech and Biogen Idec ($BIIB) paid off with blockbuster products that brought game-changing drugs to patients and turned those once-small players into giants. But it also left the path strewn with those fallen by the wayside.

Now, second-generation platforms are looking to make the same dramatic impact on patient care as first-generation monoclonal antibodies. In some cases, companies developing these platforms are taking the risk that their products are superior to first-generation products. They believe that theirs, for instance, could be more potent against disease targets--including having the ability to treat more than one aspect of a disease simultaneously--or have other positive attributes, including better and cheaper production processes or fewer side effects.

Big Pharma is paying attention. Companies like Amgen, Novartis ($NVS), Pfizer ($PFE) and Roche ($RHHBY) are making deals with potentially very large payoffs to acquire these technologies, hoping to help offset patent losses for a slew of traditional pharmaceuticals and ease the pain from the advent of biosimilars.

FierceBiotech spotlights 10 next-generation biologics that may evolve the treatment of serious illnesses, including cancer, autoimmune ailments, inflammatory diseases, and genetic disorders. These 10 are by no means the only companies with promising new platforms, but our editors have taken great care to solicit feedback from experts and have researched platform-validating deals involving the biologics in this report. Click here to check out our list by company and platform and read the full report >> -- Ryan McBride (email | Twitter)

  • Ablynx: Nanobodies
  • Aileron: Stapled peptides
  • bluebird bio: Single-gene mutation gene therapy
  • Dicerna: DsiRNAs
  • Galena: Therapeutic vaccines
  • MacroGenics: DARTs
  • Mersana Therapeutics: Antibody-drug conjugates
  • Micromet: BiTES
  • Santaris: Locked nucleic acids
  • Xencor: XmAbs

Editor's Note: Janet Aker contributed extensive reporting for this feature.