2018 Annual Trends in Biopharma Transactions Report

Locust Walk is a global life science transaction firm. Our integrated team-based approach across capabilities, geographies, and industry segments delivers the right products, the right partners, and the most attractive sources of capital to get the right deals done for biopharma and medtech companies.​

Each quarter, Locust Walk deal team members compile key statistics and trends on strategic transactions and financings. Our 2018 Annual 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 markets in the US, Europe, and Asia (Japan and China):

  • Key performance indicators for the biopharma 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 the US ​

  • Biopharma continues to draw significant investment dollars, despite a broader market sell-off that sent the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index to its lowest levels since July​
  • Biopharma IPO market remains robust in Q4, with an increase in total amount raised despite a lower volume compared to Q3, led by Moderna, which had the largest IPO in biotech history​
  • 2018 private financings outpaced 2017 in both amount raised and volume of transactions, showing a steady pool of capital for early-stage biopharma investments​
  • Q4 M&A deal volume and aggregate deal value decreased from Q3, but mega deals in 1H 2018, such as the acquisition of Shire by Takeda still made 2018 a strong year for biopharma M&A
  • Licensing deal volume and deal value increased in Q4 from Q3 as uncertainties began to emerge about the sustainability of public markets​

In Europe​

  • 2018 EU VC investment aggregate volume and value is the highest of any year in the last 8 years
  • Given the uncertainty of the European public markets, Locust Walk expects to see the continued strength in EU VC, other private investment, and deal making to support growth for 2019
  • Locust Walk expects pharma companies to increasingly look to the EU to acquire interesting platform or therapeutics as the science is strong and valuations are attractive for buyers

In Japan​

  • Volatility of shares of the top 40 Japanese biotech companies in 2018 was much greater than 2017 with overall weak performance since Q2, seeing a downward trend, ending -19% YoY in 2018
  • The volume of Japan licensing deals with announced size of >$10M in 2018 hit record highs since 2008; Takeda’s acquisition of Shire was the biggest deal across all M&A deal history by a Japanese company

In China​

  • In-licensing deal volume has significantly increased with substantial front-end economics
  • 2018 was a weak year for Chinese public pharmaceutical companies partially due to US-China trade war and the enormous drug price cuts in recent tenders 

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