The 2010 Fierce 15

Welcome to the eighth annual Fierce 15, FierceBiotech's snapshot of 15 up-and-coming private companies that are swinging for the bleachers in the big biotech ballpark. People often ask us what it takes to qualify, and you'll see the answer spelled out in these profiles.

Some companies are scaling up new programs with a handful of pioneers in pursuit of a virtual dream. One has more than 100 workers on staff and is still growing. There's an amazing amount of new technology now focused on next-generation antibodies, and clear signs that the biopharma industry is hot on their trail. Some of these companies just got started; one has been pushing ahead on new cancer drugs for a decade (and just grabbed headlines with some startling melanoma results).

But whatever technological edge they're honing, all of them show considerable promise as fast movers, pursuing ambitious plans to create and advance significant projects at a rapid pace. Each offers us a lesson on what it takes to create success in the drug development field. And for the first time, we asked readers to nominate a company, and we got a tremendous response. A few of the companies suggested to us were already on this year's list. But if you don't see your choice, don't fret. As one Fierce 15 gets published, we start a file for next year. Be sure to send me your ideas for the class of 2011. See the 2010 Fierce 15 winners

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