Q1 2019 Global Trends in Biopharma Transactions

Each quarter, Locust Walk deal team members compile key statistics and trends on strategic transactions and financings. Our Q1 2019 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 (China and Japan):

  • 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 



  • In Q1 2019, public biopharma markets recovered from the tumultuous end to 2018, with major biotech indices climbing over 20% in the quarter
  • Biopharma IPOs had a slow start this year due to the closure of the federal government, which prevented the SEC from reviewing registration statements 
  • Private financing is robust and on pace to surpass 2018’s record highs in both volume and aggregate value
  • Licensing and M&A volume have decreased from 2018, but deal value has increased with ‘mega’ deals driving M&A aggregate value


  • Private investment in Q1 2019 has been robust, reflecting a favorable environment for biopharma entrepreneurs and the high degree of innovation in EU biotechs​
  • Strong first quarter – a promising start to a great year for private financings​
  • Biopharmas seeking public capital in Q1 2019 experience the slowest start since Q1 2013


  • Shares of the top 40 Japanese biotech companies have underperformed YoY Q1 2018 down by -22.8%, but is now in a general upward trend, recovering from the “SanBio Shock” in January 2019
  • Although the activities of licensing deals with announced size of >$10M has been mild since the start of 2019, including deals with undisclosed deal value, in-licensing of late stage or oncology related assets is still the major interest by Japanese pharmaceutical companies
  • First two gene therapies, KYMRIA by Novartis and COLLATEGENE by AnGes have been approved with a hope of emerging more development activities in the same field for Japan 


  • China stock market has gradually recovered in Q1 2019
  • The Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) newly created a science and technology innovation board to focus on strategically emerging sectors including biomedicines, making pre-revenue company listing in the mainland 
  • In-license deal volume in Q1 2019 slightly increased compared to 2018 Q4 (19 vs 16)
  • US tightens scrutiny of foreign investment into the biotech sector. Foreign investments that result in a non-controlling equity stake in US biotech would be subject to review by CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States), which would drive China-based investors to shift investment focus on EU-based biotechs

View More Reports