As the money keeps rolling in, 2020 is certainly a year for the biopharma record books. With a total of $81.26 billion raised through Aug. 6, it is a standout year in every type of financing, hitting all kinds of record highs.
Out of 922 biopharma financings so far in 2020, nearly a quarter of them – 211 – were done by companies working on a COVID-19 therapeutic or vaccine. More strikingly, however, the $27.8 billion raised by those pandemic-focused firms represents about 40% of the $71.8 billion total collected through the end of July. That amount is the highest BioWorld has ever tracked.
LONDON – Europe has its fourth new fund in less than a month with the launch of Eir Ventures, which arrives on the scene with €76 million (US$85.9 million) to invest in life science startups in the Nordic countries of Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
Amid a world that has been brought to its knees by the COVID-19 pandemic, the biopharma industry has learned how to quickly adapt under these extreme circumstances. Not only has it rapidly brought to bear huge research efforts to uncover potential therapeutics and vaccines to counter the circulating coronavirus, but also it has learned how to conduct its business activities in a completely different way. For example, the pandemic hasn't stopped biopharmas from going public, with 15 companies graduating to the public arena in June alone. These financings have contributed to the $62 billion that has been generated in combined global public and private company financings in the first half of the year.
The biopharma industry has raised nearly $62 billion in the first six months of the year, bringing it very close to the $68 billion full-year record of 2015. Well over half of that money has been raised in just the last two months, with May collecting $23.4 billion and June pulling in $16.28 billion.
When BIO 2019 closed its doors in Philadelphia last June, none of the delegates of the industry’s largest event would have predicted that the next meeting, scheduled for San Diego, would be canceled and the event would be transformed into a virtual version. In just a few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated our normal way of life and, until effective therapeutics and vaccines become available, how we conduct the business of biotechnology will remain radically different. This will be one of the many themes explored during BIO Digital Week that kicked off today.
Money raised through biopharma financings so far in 2020 is double the amount raised within the same timeframe of 2019, partly due to two large financings completed in May by Sanofi SA, which is working on candidates to treat or prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
As we entered a new decade, BioWorld writers took the opportunity to review the highs and lows of the past 12 months and they concluded that 2019 was a great year for the sector – save for a few bumps in the road.