FDA approvals for biopharma products have reached their highest point in six years for a first quarter, while regulatory data is up a full 45% over last year. A total of 265 regulatory items were tracked by BioWorld in March 2021, representing the highest monthly volume, not only for this year, but for last year as well.
It has been a challenging opening first quarter for companies developing new therapeutics, with the BioWorld Drug Developers index recording a 9% drop in value, representing a stark contrast to its more than 35% growth last year.
More than a quarter of all biopharma/nonprofit deals and grant awards in 2021, as well as 79% of the disclosed funding, targets the COVID-19 pandemic, following a trend that began in the early months of last year as SARS-CoV-2 reared its ugly head.
With less uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, the biopharma industry appears on track to shift efforts back to its internal programs and possibly meet, if not exceed, the record-breaking deal level of 2020. Strong financial markets, however, may continue to hold M&As down.
In just one quarter, 14 med-tech companies overall, nearly half the number in 2020, debuted on public markets around the world, and venture capital (VC) financings for the industry have hit a five-year record. The IPOs raised a total of $3.7 billion, a more than 15-fold increase from last year’s first quarter, whereas 107 VC rounds brought in 77% more, or $4.1 billion, in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021.
While strong financial markets could create merger and acquisition headwinds for med tech, the volume of both M&As and deals are rising above each of the prior three years, indicating a growing industry interest that is not always clear in the financials.