Biopharma in 2018: Year of contrasts as stocks and M&A slump, but venture financing and IPOs remain strong
The Vantage 2018 in Review paints a mixed picture for biopharma and medtech in 2018. Key indicators on share price and dealmaking showed weakness, but there are signs of health from the industry in IPO outcomes, venture financing activity, and FDA drug approvals.
- Stock market performance was underwhelming at best –The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index grew 15% before suffering a painful Q4, resulting in a 9% year-end decline, while the S&P Pharmaceuticals Index only managed a 5% gain
- M&A and product licensing volumes were notably low, despite high-profile deals by Takeda and Bristol-Myers Squibb
- Takeda’s $64bn takeover of Shire resulted in a 42% year-end share price fall; other companies down at the end of 2018 included Gilead (-13%), Novo Nordisk (-11%), and Johnson & Johnson (-8%)
- Drug development start-ups received $16.8bn in venture financing, with 37 companies raising over $100m
- Biotech IPOs raised a record $7.23bn, with two of the biggest flotations – Moderna and Allogene – occurring in the final months of the year
- The FDA also set records, with 62 novel drugs approved and a slight reduction in average approval times