Based: Santa Clara, CA
Founded: 1997

Why It's Fierce: Ever hear of retrometabolic redesign? ARYx could make it famous. The company's scientists take existing compounds passed over for their link to side effects, re-engineer them so the body flushes them swiftly--reducing the chances of side effects--and get them to market faster as a result. Started in 1997, the company has just completed a hefty $55 million venture capital round on the strength of its Phase II clinical candidates--one for arrhythmic heart conditions and the other for gastric reflux. A blood-thinning candidate is expected to go to Phase II next year.

What to look for: Possibly an IPO, if Phase II work goes according to plan.


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