Based: Palo Alto, CA
Why It's Fierce: When Rinat Neuroscience was spun off from Genentech four years ago, it took 15 years of promising work in protein therapies and two primary focuses: pain and Alzheimer's. It also kept Genentech -- a biotech pioneer currently on a big winning streak -- as a development partner. A pain medication is in Phase I/II trials with Genentech partnered up for development. Preclinical testing indicates a powerful antidote to post-operative and other pains. And there's research into an antibody that targets beta protein, which is believed to play a role in Alzheimer's. They're coming in behind Elan, which is in Phase II, but are banking on a better design and safety profile.
What to look for: Look for the initial clinical data on pain in November. But researchers still have a long way to go before it reaches any market, anticipated around 2011. Look for an IND in December with early stage human trials launched in early 2006.