The cash register rings for Biontech and ADC Therapeutics

A couple of substantial private rounds unveiled today by two European drug developers show that start-ups on the continent are increasingly able to attract investors with deep pockets. mRNA researcher Biontech, which was last year rumoured to be gearing up for an IPO, netted $325m in a huge series B. According to EvaluatePharma this is the second-largest single financing round by a Europe-based drug developer; Acerta’s $375m haul takes the top spot. This was banked in 2015, shortly before Astrazeneca acquired a controlling stake in the blood cancer company for $2.5bn up front. Biontech does, however, take the European top spot in terms of the total amount a company has managed to raise from equity investments. ADC Therapeutics takes the silver medal thanks to the final closing of a $303m series E, also announced today. The financing prowess of Biontech and ADC puts them easily in the same league as their US biopharma rivals, the table below shows. Of course a huge pot of cash does not guarantee clinical success, and more sceptical investors will note that the majority of the companies listed below have a long way to go to justify their bloated valuations. 

Biopharma's biggest private fund raisers 
Company Total equity-based financing ($m) Specialism 
European companies…    
BioNTech (Germany)  717 mRNA-based therapies
ADC Therapeutics (Switzerland) 578 Antibody-drug conjugate technology
CureVac (Germany) 395 mRNA-based therapies
Acerta Pharma (The Netherlands) 375 Targeted cancer therapies
Immunocore (UK) 360 T-cell receptor technology
US companies…    
Moderna 1,901 mRNA-based therapies
Intarcia Therapeutics 1,066 Diabetes treatment
Samumed 650 WNT pathway-based therapies
Relay Therapeutics 520 Allosteric drug discovery platform
BridgeBio Pharma 505 Genetic diseases
Notes: includes drug developers only; includes equity investments only, from any source; does not include milestones received as part of collaboration deals; excludes company builders Roivant and Nantworks. 
Source: EvaluatePharma.     

Share This Article