Data for the this analysis was compiled using the DealForma database; specifically the companies and venture funding sections. We used company location data tagged with the three major U.S. biotech hubs along with primary therapeutic and technology focus areas. All data are based on publicly disclosed figures. We invite you to answer interesting questions using our data and carefully curated profiles on deals, pipelines, companies, funding, and business executives by visiting dealforma.com to schedule your personalized demo.
Global biotechnology venture investment topped $11.8 billion in 258 financing rounds in the first 10 months of 2018. Who are the top biotech venture investors, where are they investing their money, and what are they investing in? We used DealForma’s extensive database and research capabilities to gather publicly disclosed data from January 1, 2015 through October 31, 2018 and answer these questions. In all, we looked at 1,027 venture rounds at 824 companies with 1,193 investors. The financials in this report are for the round, not that investor’s share.
No matter how you slice it, by number of investments or total dollar value of each investment, a small handful of firms top the list:
Update: Check out how Celgene ranked among cancer investments in an updated table for 2010 to 2018 here
Although it is impossible to know the actual size of these firms’ investments, many times these VCs are the lead investor in a financing. Notable financings in 2018 where they were the lead investor include:
Venture investors tend to take an active role in the companies in which they invest and as such often invest in companies near them so they don’t have to travel as much. Of the twelve most active firms in terms of number of investments and size of rounds over the past four years, five have headquarters or a presence in the Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts area, while six have a presence in the San Francisco Bay Area. Many have more than one location, including ARCH Ventures—headquartered in Chicago but with offices in San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Austin, and Dublin, Ireland; New Enterprise Associates—headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland but with offices in Menlo Park, CA; and OrbiMed Advisors—headquartered in New York City, but with an office in San Francisco and major countries around the world.
Thus many of their dollars go to companies located in the Boston/Cambridge and San Francisco Bay Area hubs. The data shows that Cormorant has invested solely in biotechs in the Boston/Cambridge hub, while San Diego’s share of deals and dollars has been growing, especially from local investors, such as Avalon Ventures, Illumina, Biomed Realty Ventures, Qualcomm, and Viking Therapeutics:
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Specifically for Biotech, Pharma, Device, and Diagnostics
It’s no surprise that cancer continues to be the main therapeutic area of focus both for the number and size of the deals. There’s also renewed interest in therapies targeting neurologic disorders and infectious diseases:
Finally, what technologies are hot? Over the past four years, VC investment in companies developing first-in-class and best-in-class small molecule therapeutics far surpasses investment in immunotherapies, cell therapies, and gene therapies:
Next week, I’ll start a series on partnering and M&A trends as we lead up to the 2019 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.
Marie Daghlian is a freelance writer and editor who reports on the business of biotechnology and healthcare technologies and on rare diseases for Global Gene’s Rare Daily. She also covers the industry for Big4Bio, a daily newsletter focused on the four major biotech centers in the United States.
More Research by DealForma
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The top deal upfront for November 2021 was the Owkin – Sanofi artificial intelligence and federated learning platform research partnership to advance Sanofi’s oncology pipeline. Owkin will receive a $180M upfront equity investment, $90M in R&D funding over 3 years, and is eligible for additional undisclosed R&D milestones.
The top deal upfront for October 2021 was the Xencor – Janssen deal for plamotamab and XmAb bispecific antibodies and new XmAb B-cell targeting bispecific antibodies for CD20-expressing hematologic malignancies. Xencor will receive $100M in upfront cash, $25M in an upfront equity investment, and is eligible for up to $1.18B in dev., reg., and sales milestones, plus tiered mid-teens to low-twenties royalties.
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August 2021 Top Biopharma Deal: RemeGen – Seagen HER2-targeted ADC, Disitamab Vedotin for Solid Tumors
The top deal upfront for August 2021 was the RemeGen – Seagen deal for HER2-targeted ADC disitamab vedotin for solid tumors. RemeGen will receive $200M in cash up front and is eligible to receive up to $2.4 billion in milestones, plus tiered, high single-digit to mid-teen royalties.
Top Biopharma Deal July 2021: Arvinas – Pfizer ARV-471 PROTAC Protein Degrader for ER+/HER2- Breast Cancer
The top biopharma deal upfront for July 2021 was Arvinas and Pfizer’s partnership for PROTAC protein degrader ARV-471 ER+/HER2- breast cancer. Arvinas will receive $650M in cash up front, $350M in an equity investment, and is eligible to receive up to $1.4 billion in milestones, plus a 50% cost and profit split.
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Top Biopharma Deal May 2021: Agenus – BMS for AGEN-1777 Bispecific Anti-TIGIT Antibody for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
The top biopharma deal upfront for May 2021 was Agenus and BMS’ partnership for anti-TIGIT mAb AGEN-1777. Agenus will receive $200M up front.
Top Biopharma Deal April 2021: CRISPR – Vertex for CTX001 for Sickle Cell Disease and Transfusion-Dependent Beta-Thalassemia
CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex Pharmaceuticals amended their 2015 deal to develop and commercialize gene editing therapies. This expansion is for Phase I/II CTX001 for severe sickle cell diseases and transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia. CRISPR will receive $900M up front, up to $200M in milestones upon the first regulatory approval, and a cost/profit split of 40%.
Debiopharm granted Merck exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Xevinapant in Phase III for advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Debiopharm will receive EUR188M ($227M) up front and is eligible for up to EUR710M ($856M) in milestones, plus royalties. This was the largest upfront cash and equity for a partnership signed in March 2021.
Biotech and pharma deals in 2020 soared to an all-time high of 1,154 signed deals with $146.3 billion in total value, defying expectations that the global Covid-19 pandemic would hamper dealmaking. Global healthcare and life sciences R&D partnership activity was up 23 percent over 2019 and total deal values rose 31 percent from the previous year, driven in part by advances in technological and molecular understandings of disease pathways, and a drive toward targeted precision medicines.
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