How large pharma impacts biotechnology startup success

Implications for bioentrepreneurs.

Fig. 1: Involvement of large pharma throughout the startup life cycle.
Fig. 2: Success rate for startups with and without large pharma investors.
Fig. 3: Median current market capitalization and acquisition value for startups with and without large pharma investors.
Fig. 4: Startup success rate by development stage at first venture financing round.
Fig. 5: Investor ties to large pharma. Investors’ share of their successful portfolio companies that have exited via acquisition and share of investors’ portfolio companies that have attracted large pharma in the same or subsequent years of the investment.


  1. 1.

    Geilinger, U. & Bujak, E. 2019 HBM New Drug Approval Report. (2019).

  2. 2.

    Schuhmacher, A., Gassmann, O. & Hinder, M. J. Transl. Med. 14, 105–116 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Senior, M. Nat. Biotechnol. 36, 291–292 (2018).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Chin, M. H. W., Gentleman, E., Coppens, M.-O. & Day, E. M. Trends Biotechnol. 38, 1054–1065 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Christel, M. Pharmaceutical Executive 39 (6), 12–23 (2019).

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Rooswinkel, R. W., Berbers, D. S. W., Claassen, E. H. J. H. M. & van Deventer, S. Nat. Biotechnol. 34, 1095–1098 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daniela S. Couto.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

G.M.v.D. and D.S.C. are employed by BioGeneration Ventures and S.v.D. is employed by Forbion Capital Partners. These companies invest in biotech ventures.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Table 1

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Melchner von Dydiowa, G., van Deventer, S. & Couto, D.S. How large pharma impacts biotechnology startup success. Nat Biotechnol (2021).

Download citation


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing