Thanks to the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus identified in late December 2019, 2020 was the year of COVID-19. It was a year of lockdowns and social distancing, a year of Zoom meetings and virtual conferences, and a year when donning a face mask sometimes came to signify a political rather than health decision.
Relief spread across the world in December when the first two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines received emergency use approvals, although that deep sigh was short-lived as a highly-transmissible SARS-COV-2 mutation began to make its rounds, highlighting the need for continued research to strengthen the arsenal.
The exceptional and speedy response in bringing safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics to combat COVID-19 has kept investors engaged and supportive. As a result, not only have companies involved in this research and development benefited, but so has the sector as a whole. Those biopharma companies have enjoyed significant jumps in their share values, with the BioWorld Drug Developers index closing up 4.6% in December and up 29% for 2020.
While everyone will be glad to see 2020 in their rearview mirror, the biopharmaceutical sector can count its blessings, as it emerges from a period where it has surprisingly received record public and private financings and enjoyed strong investor support. This is in sharp contrast to most of the global economy, which has been decimated by the ongoing pandemic.