2021 Q3 Report: Global Trends in Biopharma Transactions

Each quarter, Locust Walk deal team members compile key statistics and trends on strategic transactions and financings. Our 2021 Q3 Report: Global Trends in Biopharma Transactions applies the latest data to analyze current activities in the life sciences deal landscape. ​

In this report you can find an overview and analysis of the following across the biopharma market in the US, Europe, and Asia (Japan and China):​

  • Key performance indicators for the life science market​​
  • IPO and private financing activity and performance​​
  • Deal activity for strategic partnership and M&A​
  • A look ahead and our predictions of the future


United States

  • Biotech indices declined in Q3 2021 (-1.2% NBI, -4.0% BTK), compared to the 0.2% gains of the benchmark S&P 500 this quarter​
  • The US biopharma IPO momentum slowed in Q3 in terms of total aggregate deal value but with slightly higher deal volume compared to Q2​
  • The healthcare SPAC IPO market which began to cool down in Q2 2021 continued its cooling in Q3, with the volume and aggregate deal value of biotech dedicated SPACs falling to near pre-pandemic levels​
  • Despite the apparent slowdown from the previous quarter, public and private financing activity remains strong relative to historical standards​
  • Biopharma companies from the IPO Classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021, on average, all underperformed the major biotech indices this quarter​
  • Strong deal flow among licensing deals demonstrated sustained interest in strategic licensing transactions. Additionally, a dramatic increase in M&A average deal size revealed that the market values clinical-stage biotechnology companies



  • The steadily impressive increases in private investment into EU biotech since Q1 2020 has taken a break, raising just over $1B  in Q3 2021, a fall of ~35% after the record-setting of ~$1.6B raised in Q2 2021 but still higher than Q3 in 2020 or 2019
  • Public financings slowed down significantly in Q3 compared to the last two quarters. There were only five small IPOs, all in home exchanges; no biopharmas have crossed the pond this quarter to go public on the US markets
  • European M&A activity stays consistent in terms of deal volume but total deal value back towards levels seen in Q1 2020
  • Notably, Q3 EU biopharma licensing agreements surpassed $8.1B in aggregate value, beating the impressive $7.8B of Q2. The deal activity in this quarter was again driven by a strong focus on immuno-oncology, but also by the revival of CNS through three significant deals



  • The biotech sector in Q3 2021 fell -13.8% with noticeable drops end of July while the pharma sector stayed flat, and overall growth of the two sectors since the beginning of 2020 is underperforming market​
  • All 5 in-licensing deals in Q3 2021 involved over $200M in deal size, and are split between either phase 3 assets or discovery stage transactions​
  • Following a strong quarter in venture financing in Q2 2021, the trend continues in Q3 which featured 9 deals with aggregate value of $50M; volume and value in 9 months of 2021 already beat the full year record in 2020​



  • Average share price of top Chinese pharma dropped by 14.1% due to speculations that the tightening of regulation for IT companies may also happen in the health care sector, while the SSE Composite Index was stable​
  • In-licensing deal volume and value in Q3 2021 outperform Q2 the previous year: 21 in-licensing deals closed including 16 deals with over $50M in total deal size and 15 with over $5M upfront payment​
  • Out-licensing activity was slow in Q3, but with large deal size:  RemeGen’s $2.6B deal for ADC program to Seagen​
  • Venture financing for biotech companies continue to exceed previous levels, as 35 companies raised capital for an aggregate total of $2.4B in Q3 alone

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