With nearly a quarter of the activity announced in March focused on COVID-19, the first quarter of 2020 appears to be on target to beat the deal and M&A values of two of the last three years, although it remains behind 2019. Despite the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, let alone the upcoming U.S. presidential election, the industry has fared relatively well in terms of dealmaking so far this year, even as the markets have plummeted and partnering events have moved to a virtual format. In fact, deals should logically increase as the pandemic takes its toll on the economy, according to a biopharma executive who responded to a recent J.P. Morgan survey.
Although public offerings slowed considerably in March as a result of the steepest stock market declines in history during that period, global biopharmaceutical companies managed to collectively generate just over $16 billion in the first quarter from a record number public and private transactions. Only the first quarter of 2018 saw more cash raised in the past decade, according to BioWorld data.