Although 2020 is the highest money-making year on record for the biopharma industry, a direct comparison of the first five months indicates that the amount raised so far in 2021 is 22% ahead of last year, while the number of financings climbed 26%.
Public biopharmaceutical companies did manage to attract some investors off the sidelines in May with medical conference season getting into full gear. However, it was generally another lackluster month, with the Nasdaq Biotech index dropping 2% in the period in contrast to the broader markets with the Dow Jones Industrial Average growing by 2%. The sector, however, could get a significant boost in the next few days if the FDA gives the green light to Biogen Inc. and Eisai Co. Ltd.’s experimental Alzheimer’s disease therapy, aducanumab, a recombinant chimeric human IgG1 monoclonal antibody targeting beta-amyloid, that could be the first disease-modifying therapy for an indication that has seen no novel therapies approved in more than 15 years.
China is making strides in cell and gene therapy, notably so with a 61% surge in the number of clinical trials in six years, a new report by Ernst & Young showed. While analysts noted the increasing innovation efforts and cross-border collaborations, concerns remain if quality will be compromised by speed.
Jam-packed with efforts to address COVID-19 variants and next-step booster shots, as well as safety concerns over vaccine co-administrations and the expansion of emergency use authorizations (EUAs) into younger populations, May was another busy pandemic-fighting month for the world, despite higher numbers of those vaccinated and declining death and hospitalization rates.