Fierce Biotech's 2021 Fierce 15

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While speaking to a number of venture capitalists this year, we picked their brains on how to choose life science winners. It’s never an easy task, and the pandemic has made things much harder because physical meetings have largely been a no-no and research priorities are shifting (surely it’s about time) to infectious disease and vaccines.

VCs risk losing millions of dollars if they get things wrong. The pressure isn't as high for us but we take the responsibility for picking the best and most deserving biotechs seriously. We know that when the spotlight falls on them it can lead to more money and interest. We only want truly innovative biotechs to be in our spotlight.

COVID-19 was, inevitably, the focus of Fierce 15 last year. This year, it's mostly more of the same as we see how the sector has and continues to navigate the pandemic, all the while raising cash, running trials, hiring staff, keeping them safe, and making deals during an incredibly difficult 18 months.

A small note: In the past, we only included pre-IPO biotechs on the Fierce 15 list. This year, we’ve had to ditch that particular criterion because so many early-stage and pre-clinical companies are riding the life science wave of optimism and making the jump to Wall Street.

We still want the majority to be privately held but from now on, we are accepting companies that have recently filed for or pulled off, an IPO.

Please check out our Fierce 15 below. — Ben Adams, Fierce Biotech Europe bureau chief