Although 2021 med-tech deal volume is 13% higher than last year, the deals represent less than half the value recorded in 2020. The industry has completed 1,576 deals, including licensings, collaborations and joint ventures, through mid-December of 2021. They are valued at $2.13 billion. A total of 573 M&As, on the other hand, have reached $144.75 billion, a 282% rise over 2020.
There was no slowing of biopharma innovation in 2021, even as industry directed significant resources to, while feeling the impact of, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The year saw big wins for developers of DNA vaccines and biosimilars, while CAR T expanded its reach and a drug target once considered undruggable was finally conquered. And as 2021 gives way to 2022, other potentially game-changing technologies and therapeutics are waiting in the wings.
Every year, the BioWorld team takes time to look back and assess the market-moving and life-changing stories and trends of the year. Without a doubt, COVID-19 shook humanity to the core, again. And like glioblastoma, the tentacles of COVID-19 invaded far beyond the obvious and ultimately changed the world. So that’s our top story of the year. But the biopharmaceutical industry is resilient and responsive. Even though there were tectonic shifts in efforts to bring an armamentarium of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics to patients with record-breaking speed, work continued on other fronts, because people are still getting sick with cancer, succumbing to horrible diseases like Alzheimer’s and issues such as the battle over drug prices rage on.
While biopharma companies across the world pulled out all the stops in 2021 to develop and manufacture COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, the pandemic highlighted supply chain weaknesses, spurring demands in many countries for more domestic manufacturing and less reliance on production in other countries.
In China, 2021 saw a number of regulatory efforts aimed at encouraging companies developing novel drugs. As a result, analysts expect that impact investment and investors would allocate capital to “truly innovative oncology drugs” so 2022 could see a more supportive ecosystem for the development of rare disease treatments in China. Meanwhile, they believe that me-too and me-worse drugs, which have accounted for a large portion of China’s drug market, would have a more difficult time getting marketing approval.