1Q20 — biotech stocks nosedive

With the onset of COVID-19, biotech stocks, along with all the other major stock market indices, took a nose dive, from mid-March. The biotech index performed a little better than the other indices by the end of the quarter. In the weeks before the pandemic announcement, money still flowed into the sector from both the public and private markets. As yet, evidence of an economic downturn is not displayed in the numbers.

Stock market performance

Biotech stocks react to the economic downturn.

Global biotech intial public offerings

The US had a bumper quarter in terms of IPO funding.

Number of IPOs

  2Q18 3Q18 4Q18 1Q19 2Q19 3Q19 4Q19 1Q20
Asia-Pacific 4 7 13 3 8 6 17 2
Europe 6 1 5 2 2 1 3 0
Americas 17 19 11 18 18 9 13 10
  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence.

Global biotech financing

Debt continued to be an important funding source.

PIPE, private investment in public equity. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence.

Global biotech venture capital investment

In the United States and Europe, taken together, risk capital was more plentiful than in any 2019 quarter.

Number of rounds

  2Q18 3Q18 4Q18 1Q19 2Q19 3Q19 4Q19 1Q20
Asia-Pacific 23 15 7 18 18 15 27 12
Europe 28 29 35 29 39 41 43 49
Americas 96 82 85 60 104 86 104 99
  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence.


Company (principal underwriters) Amount raised ($ millions) Date completed Change in stock price (as of 4/7/2020)
Bio-Thera Solutions 281 21 February Not available
Revolution Medicines (Cowen, SVB Leerink) 274 12 February –17%
Passage Bio (Goldman Sachs, Cowen) 248 27 February –27%
Schrödinger (Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch) 232 5 February 36%
Black Diamond Therapeutics (Cowen, Canaccord Genuity) 231 29 January –38%
Arcutis Biotherapeutics (Goldman Sachs, Cowen) 183 4 February 26%
Beam Therapeutics (J.P. Morgan, Jeffries, Barclays Capital, Wedbush) 180 5 February –15%
I-Mab Biopharma (Jeffries, China International Capital, China Renaissance, Hopu Securities) 114 17 January Not available
Imara (Morgan Stanley, SVB Leerink) 75 11 March 6%
Anpac Bio-Medical Science (WestPark Capital, Univest Securities) 16 30 January –27%
Annovis Bio (ThinkEquity) 14 28 January –66%
  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence.

Venture capital

Company (lead investors) Amount raised ($ millions) Round number Date completed
EQRx (GV, Arch Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz) 200 A 12 January
ElevateBio (Invus, Surveyor Capital, MPM Capital) 170 B 30 March
Karius (SoftBank, HBM Partners, Khosla Ventures) 165 B 24 February
Concerto HealthAI (Declaration Partners, Maverick Ventures, AllianceBernstein) 150 B 13 January
Element Science (GV, Cormorant Asset Management, Invus) 146 C 3 March
Immunocore (General Atlantic, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WuXi AppTec) 130 B 2 March
Aligos Therapeutics (Wellington Capital Management, Janus Henderson Investors, Cormorant Asset Management) 125 B 10 January
Apexigen (Decheng Capital) 123 C 24 March
Nurix Therapeutics (EcoR1 Capital, Third Rock Ventures, The Column Group) 120 Not disclosed 12 March
Kallyope (The Column Group, Lux Capital, Polaris Partners) 112 C 25 March
SutroVax (Janus Henderson Investors, RA Capital Management, Medicxi Ventures) 110 D 26 March
Generation Bio (T. Rowe Price, Farallon Capital Management, Wellington Management, Atlas Venture) 110 C 10 January
Akouos 105 B 3 March
  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence.

Mergers and acquisitions

Target Acquirer Value ($ millions) Date announced
Dermira Eli Lilly 1,000 10 January
Ritter Pharmaceuticals Qualigen Reverse merger 21 January
Neon Therapeutics BioNTech 67 16 January
PharmAkea Therapeutics Galecto Biotech Merger 7 January
Onspira Therapeutics Altavant Undisclosed 8 January
Attenua Coda Biotherapeutics Undisclosed 5 February
  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence.


Researcher Partner Up-front cash ($ millions) Description
Sangamo Therapeutics Biogen 125 Sangamo grants Biogen exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize gene regulation therapies to treat neurological diseases
Novartis Otsuka Pharmaceutical 90 Otsuka enters into co-promotion agreement in Japan for small-molecule cocktail of the neprilysin inhibitor sacubitril plus angiotensin receptor inhibitor valsartan
Dermavant Sciences Japan Tobacco 60 Dermavant enters into exclusive license agreement with Japan Tobacco for development and commercialization of tapinarof, a first-in-class small-molecule aryl hydrocarbon receptor agonist, in Japan
Nurix Therapeutics Sanofi 55 Nurix partners with Sanofi to develop and commercialize protein degradation drugs to treat multiple undisclosed indications
AstraZeneca RedHill Biopharma 53 AstraZeneca grants RedHill rights to commercialize Movantik (naloxegol) to treat opioid-induced constipation worldwide, excluding Europe, Canada and Israel
Adaptimmune Therapeutics Astellas Pharma 50 Astellas partners with Adaptimmune to co-develop and co-commercialize stem-cell-derived allogeneic T cell therapies to treat cancer
Kyverna Therapeutics Gilead Sciences 17.5 Kyverna partners with Gilead to develop engineered T cell therapies for the treatment of autoimmune disease based on Kyverna’s synthetic Treg platform and synNotch technology from Kite
eFFECTOR Therapeutics Pfizer 15 eFFECTOR Therapeutics grants Pfizer worldwide, exclusive rights to develop and commercialize small-molecule inhibitors of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E to treat cancer
Camp4 Therapeutics Biogen 15 Biogen partners with Camp4 to discover targets to address neurodegenerative and neurological diseases
GlycoMimetics Apollomics 9 GlycoMimetics grants Apollomics exclusive rights to its E-selectin antagonist, GMI-1687, to treat acute myeloid leukemia
Evotec Bayer 7.2 Evotec partners with Bayer to develop and commercialize drug candidates to treat polycystic ovary syndrome
  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence.

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DeFrancesco, L. 1Q20 — biotech stocks nosedive. Nat Biotechnol 38, 521–522 (2020).

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