All quiet on the deal front... or perhaps it’s just February

Deal news flow has dimmed after a clutch of transactions in January – the traditional JP Morgan flurry – prompting biopharma followers to wonder what might be holding companies back. Amgen’s move on Horizon rescued last year’s meagre M&A tally, although that takeover that has yet to pass FTC scrutiny. It feels like another slow year is developing, but should deal bankers be worried about end of year bonuses just yet? Evaluate Vantage ran the numbers to find out, and in reality 2023 so far does not look quieter than the same period in previous years. Cut the number in various ways and it is still hard to find evidence of a quiet start of the year. The data below concern only deals between pure-play drug developers, and only full company takeouts; perhaps by throwing the net wider, to include other deal types, a slowdown could be found. It is also true that global levels of M&A fell last year amid economic uncertainty. Biopharma’s need to replenish pipelines is never sated, of course, so it is probably too early to write off 2023.

2023: too early to call?
 Year Total deal count Deals with terms  Target was listed  Target was US-based  Count of February deals
2019 12 7 3 8 3
2020 13 4 2 7 3
2021 11 5 2 7 5
2022 18 6 2 14 5
2023 16 7 5 9 3
Source: Evaluate Pharma. Deals from 1 Jan to 21 Feb in each year.      

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