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Competitive Intelligence Insights: Cell & Gene Therapy

The number of cell and gene therapy (C&GT)-based treatments in development has increased significantly over the last two decades and can be expected to continue, driven by the modality-specific market potential and the breadth of applicability across indications. For competitive intelligence teams tasked with staying on top of this complex and dynamic market, there is plenty to consider.

Although early innovations in C&GT have been spearheaded by small biotechs, Big Pharma quickly followed suit with major deals to jumpstart their own in-house programmes. Whilst this means that deal volume in the space may slow in the medium-to-long term, their value may continue to increase as Big Pharma’s search for high value disease portfolio lynchpins also continues. Big Pharma’s competitive edge over biotech market entrants will be most evident in how it deploys its in-house capacity and capabilities to accelerate time to market or acquire complementary therapies to strategically bolster its portfolios.

What does this mean for biotechs – and what do CI teams need to focus on?

New biotech entrants to the C&GT space need to remain vigilant of Big Pharma and other biotech competitors alike, but for different reasons.

  • Biotech companies: These pose an inherent threat as they seek to manage their relatively smaller budgets to maximum value. Biotech C&GT companies may benefit from tracking competitors’ earnings calls and general corporate communications, senior/executive hires and overall headcount, and funding plus general deal-making activities.
  • Big Pharma: Monitoring Big Pharma deal trends and their appetite for specific C&GT modalities will also provide valuable directional intelligence on which fellow biotechs might be next up for a landscape-shifting deal.

Where do the Big Pharma players need to focus?

Big pharma players in C&GT face identical competitive intelligence challenges, but often with the additional need to monitor competitors’ portfolios where there is significant overlap in pipeline and portfolio strategies. In addition to competitive intelligence tracking, Big Pharma players may also benefit from monitoring for business development purposes, ensuring regular updates on key landscape events and catalysts to inform potential M&A activities.

On the M&A front, appetite for partnerships around cell and gene therapies has varied over the past few years. Gene therapies had attracted around $14.5bn deal dollars and 23 deals in 2021 across a variety of therapy areas, according to Evaluate Pharma. However, deal volume dropped to just eight in 2022, with total deal value reduced to $4.7bn, although sizeable deals were still made with Novartis partnering with Voyager Therapeutics for $1.8bn.

As the cell and gene therapy space continues to grow and expand, so will the need for a well-organised and well-resourced CI function to ensure successful and sustainable growth for big pharma and small biotech players alike. Our upcoming report, designed to give CI teams a clear view in to the C&G landscape will dig into much more detail, including the indications getting the most attention, the top players and the trends in dealmaking. We’ll publish the report soon, so keep an eye out!


Alex Bour, Ph.D

Principal, Competitive Intelligence Practice Lead, Norstella


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