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Financing breaks all records in 2020

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Financing breaks all records in 2020

2020 stands out as one of the best years ever for biotech financing across the globe. Stock indices remained up through December. Initial public offerings (IPOs) had a banner year, with >73 life science firms raising collectively >$22 billion. Thirty-three biotech-related special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) — shell companies making an IPO that present private biotechs with an alternative to going public without a costly traditional flotation — raised a whopping $6.3 billion. Private fundraising also mushroomed, with a 37% increase in funds flooding in compared to the previous year, and private equity firms like Blackstone Life Sciences continued to expand into venture financing. Only mergers were off compared to previous years, as pharma showed a greater interest in partnerships. Chinese biotechs continued to flex their muscles, with seven of the top ten IPOs originating in Asia (last year, the region accounted for only four), and three of the ten biggest venture rounds last year also included Chinese biotechs LianBio, Everest Medicines and Mabwell Biotechnology.

Stock market performance

Biotech stocks were up over 20% on the year.

Global biotech initial public offerings

All regions had nearly triple IPO funding.

Number of IPOs

 
2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Asia-Pacific

18

13

28

40

44

Europe

23

26

16

8

14

Americas

25

33

56

46

73

  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence
Global biotech financing

Money flowed into the sector from all avenues — none as great, though, as partnerships.

PIPE, private investment in public equity. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence.

Global biotech venture capital investment

All regions brought risk capital.

Number of rounds

 
2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Asia-Pacific

70

82

104

109

112

Europe

195

182

171

176

178

Americas

428

492

501

411

442

  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence
IPOs

Company (principal underwriters)

Amount raised ($ millions)

Date completed

Country

Change in stock price (as of 1/12/2021

SK Biopharmaceuticals (NH Investment & Securities, Citigroup Global Markets)

799

2 July

South Korea

+21

AbCellera Biologics (Credit Suisse, Stifel, Nicolaus, Berenberg Bank, SVB Leerink, BMO Capital Markets)

555

15 December

Canada

–32

RemeGen (Morgan Stanley, Huatai Securities, J.P. Morgan Securities, UBS, BOCI Asia, BOCOM International, Haitong International, Zhongtai Financial International)

514

9 November

China

+ 60

Legend Biotech (Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Jefferies)

487

5 June

China

–21

Relay Therapeutics (Goldman Sachs, Cowen)

460

15 July

United States

+14

Everest Medicines (Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citibank, CICC, Credit Suisse, Nomura, Brocade River)

451

8 October

United States

+9.5

Akeso (Morgan Stanley)

383

23 April

China

+100

Genor Biopharma (Goldman Sachs, Jefferies, J.P. Morgan Securities, CMB International Capital, China Renaissance, Haitong International, Macquarie Capital)

371

6 October

China

Not available

Gan & Lee Pharmaceuticals (Qiming Venture Partners)

360

28 June

China

+46

Antengene (Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Citibank, CICC, CMB International Capital)

359

19 Nov

China

–5

  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence
Licensing/collaboration

Researcher

Partner

Up-front cash ($ millions)

Description

Genmab

AbbVie

750

Genmab grants AbbVie rights to co-develop and commercialize bispecific antibody products outside of the United States and Japan

Blueprint Medicines

Roche

1,702

Blueprint Medicines grants Roche exclusive rights to pralsetinib to treat non-small-cell lung cancer, thyroid cancers and solid tumors outside the United States, excluding Greater China

Seattle Genetics

Merck

600

Seattle Genetics partners with Merck to develop and commercialize cancer drugs ladiratuzumab vedotin and Tukysa (tucatinib)

Denali

Biogen

560

Denali partners with Biogen to develop and commercialize LRRK2 program for Parkinson’s disease and certain TV platform–enabled programs for neurodegenerative diseases

Dragonfly Therapeutics

Bristol Myers Squibb

475

Dragonfly Therapeutics grants Bristol Myers Squibb exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Dragonfly’s IL-12 investigational immunotherapy program

uniQure

CSL Behring

450

uniQure grants CSL Behring exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize etranacogene dezaparvovec to treat hemophilia

Assertio Therapeutics

Collegium Pharmaceutical

375

Assertio Therapeutics grants Collegium Pharmaceutical US rights to Assertio’s Nucynta (tapentadol) franchise for pain

Atea Pharmaceuticals

Roche

350

Atea Pharmaceuticals partners with Roche to develop and distribute AT-527 for COVID-19

Takeda

Arrowhead

300

Takeda and Arrowhead collaborate to co-develop and co-commercialize ARO-AAT for α1-antitrypsin-associated liver disease

Translate Bio

Sanofi

300

Sanofi partners with Translate Bio to develop COVID-19 mRNA vaccine and for other infectious disease indications for up to $1.9 billion

Apellis Pharmaceuticals

Orphan Biovitrum

250

Apellis Pharmaceuticals grants Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) global co-development and exclusive ex-US commercialization rights to systemic pegcetacoplan (APL-2)

  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence
Venture capital

Company (lead investors)

Amount raised ($ millions)

Round number

Country

Date completed

Sana Biotechnology (Flagship Pioneering, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Baillie Gifford, F-Prime Capital Partners, Alaska Permanent Fund, GV, Bezos Expeditions, Omega Funds, Altitude Life Science Ventures)

700

Not disclosed

United States

23 June

Lyell Immunopharma (not disclosed)

493

C

United States

5 March

Grail (Flagship Pioneering, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Baillie Gifford, F-Prime Capital Partners, Alaska Permanent Fund, GV, Bezos Expeditions, Omega Funds, Altitude Life Science Ventures)

390

D

United States

6 May

CureVac (KfW)

337

Not disclosed

Germany

15 June

LianBio (BlackRock, Vida Ventures, Perceptive Advisors, Konstantin Poukalov, Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners, T. Rowe Price, Pfizer, Viking Global Investors, Wellington Management, RA Capital Management, Tybourne Capital Management)

310

Not disclosed

China

29 June

Mabwell Biotechnology (Shiyu Capital, Loyal Valley Capital, Ganzhou Development Investment Holding Group, Golden China Fund, Ningbo Gaoling Fund, Suzhou Ruihua, Nanshan National Fund)

279

A

China

29 April

Freeome (Perceptive Advisors, Janus Henderson Investors, Soleus Capital, Roche Venture Fund, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Section 32, RA Capital Management, GV, EcoR1 Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Cormorant Asset Management and others)

270

C

United States

28 August

Everest Medicines (Janchor Partners, RA Capital Management, Hillhouse Capital, Decheng Capital, Janus Henderson Investors, Rock Springs Capital, Octagon Capital, Guoxin Guotong Fund, CBC Group, Cormorant Capital, Pavilion Capital, HBM Healthcare Investments, existing investors)

260

C

United States

4 June

Thrive Earlier Detection (Section 32, Exact Sciences, Janus Henderson Investors, T. Rowe Price, Perceptive Advisors, Third Rock Ventures, Brown Advisory, Rock Springs Capital, Camden Partners, Invus, Lux Capital)

257

B

United States

29 July

Recursion Pharmaceuticals (Leaps by Bayer, Data Collective, Epic Ventures, Catalio Capital Management, Casdin Capital, Obvious Ventures, Samsara BioCapital, Intermountain Ventures, Lux Capital, Two Sigma Ventures, Advantage Capital, Mubadala Capital Ventures US, Felicis Ventures)

239

D

United States

9 September

  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence
Mergers and acquisitions

Target

Acquirer

Value ($ millions)

Date announced

Immunomedics

Gilead Sciences

21,000

13 September

MyoKardia

Bristol Myers Squibb

13,100

5 October

Qiagen

Thermo Fisher Scientific

11,500

3 March

Momenta Pharmaceuticals

Johnson & Johnson

6,500

19 August

Forty Seven

Gilead Sciences

4,900

2 March

Principia Biopharma

Sanofi

3,680

17 August

VelosBio

Merck

2,750

5 November

Aimmune Therapeutics

Nestlé

2,600

13 August

Asklepios BioPharmaceutical

Bayer

2,000

26 October

Portola Pharmaceuticals

Alexion

1,176

5 May

  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence
Author information

Affiliations

  1. Senior Editor, Nature Biotechnology

    Laura DeFrancesco

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