DUBLIN – Even by any normal measure of European biotechnology investment, the first two quarters of 2020 were memorable. If it maintains the present momentum, Europe’s drug development sector is on course for a record-breaking year, having already raised $5.034 billion in publicly disclosed equity investments. That puts it well ahead of any other year – the sector edged to a new high in 2019 when it raised $7.739 billion over the full 12 months – but, of course, comparisons with any other year seem irrelevant. This year is like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything.
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.
Representing the highest amount ever raised by a public biopharma company on a U.S. exchange, Moderna Inc. priced a $1.34 billion follow-on offering to help fund worldwide manufacturing and distribution of its mRNA-1273 vaccine for COVID-19.