Financing took a downward turn, with the exception of venture funding, which held steady overall, although the amount invested per round was also down from last year. Large rounds were raised by prominent artificial intelligence ventures Insilico Medicine and Exscientia. German vaccine makers BioNtech and CureVac were prominent biotech market movers: the former gaining 119% from 1Q21 after positive news on its COVID-19 vaccine (including efficacy data in adolescents), the latter losing 20% when a phase 2/3 trial demonstrated only 47% efficacy. M&A were very quiet in 2Q21, and the long-term trend is that public companies may have to wait a while for a trade sale. The procession of oversized stock market floats of preclinical cell and gene therapy companies raising hundreds of millions of dollars—even genomics research tool companies like Singular Genomics Systems—continued on public markets. Large public offerings for Centessa Pharmaceuticals and Atai Life Sciences signaled the rise of a new type of company: umbrella corporations containing multiple asset-centric ventures.

Stock market performance

The Biotech index performed roughly the same as the NASDAQ and slightly better than the other major indices.

Global biotech initial public offerings

The flood of companies onto public markets continued across the world.

Number of IPOs

  1Q20 2Q20 3Q20 4Q20 1Q21 2Q21
Asia-Pacific 10 8 13 20 9 12
Europe 1 6 4 2 7 8
Americas 9 17 22 26 25 25
  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence

Global biotech financing

Only venture financing held steady in 2Q21.

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

Global biotech venture capital investment

The appetite for biotech enterprises continued, but less money flowed in.

Number of rounds

  1Q20 2Q20 3Q20 4Q20 1Q21 2Q21
Asia-Pacific 15 23 31 35 23 24
Europe 42 40 50 38 41 44
Americas 99 107 102 86 132 137
  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence

Top ten IPOs of 2Q21

Company (principal underwriters) Amount raised ($ millions) Date completed Latest stage and focus Percent change in stock price (as of 7/15/2021) Exchange
Zymergen (J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, BofA Securities) 575 21 April Biomaterials from engineered microbial strains –7.0 NASDAQ
Recursion Pharmaceuticals (Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, BofA Securities) 502 16 April Phase 1; AI-enabled drug screening 3.8 NASDAQ
Lyell Immunopharma (Goldman Sachs., BofA Securities, J.P. Morgan) 425 16 June Preclinical; autologous T cells with CARs or TCRs engineered with ‘exhaustion resistance’ –5 NASDAQ
CARsgen Therapeutics (Goldman Sachs, UBS, Citic Securities) 400 17 June Phase 2/3; autologous and allogeneic CAR-T cells engineered to express interleukin-7 and CC-motif chemokine ligand 21 6 Hong Kong
Centessa Pharmaceuticals (Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Jefferies) 380 27 May Phase 3; umbrella company for asset-centric ventures –4 NASDAQ
Verve Therapeutics (J.P. Morgan, Jefferies, Guggenheim Securities) 307 16 June IND; cardiovascular CRISPR gene editing therapy 46 NASDAQ
Graphite Bio (Morgan Stanley, BofA Securities, Cowen) 274 24 June IND; CRISPR gene editing therapy 34 NASDAQ
Singular Genomics Systems (J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, BofA Securities) 258 1 June Preclinical; genomics research tools –24 NASDAQ
Century Therapeutics (J.P. Morgan, BofA Securities, SVB Leerink) 243 17 June Preclinical; allogeneic iPSC-derived natural killer and T cells 20 NASDAQ
Atai Life Sciences (Credit Suisse, Citigroup, Cowen, Berenberg Bank) 225 17 June Phase 3; umbrella company for asset-centric ventures in mental health –7 NASDAQ
Janux Therapeutics (BofA Securities, Cowen, Evercore ISI) 223 11 June IND; bispecific antigen-binding fragment, single-chain Fv fragment and single antibody domains specific for tumor antigens and CD3 6.5 NASDAQ
  1. AI, artificial intelligence; CAR, chimeric antigen receptor; TCR, T cell receptor; IND, Investigational New Drug application; iPSC, induced pluripotent stem cell; Fv, immunoglobulin variable fragment. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence

Mergers and acquisitions

Target Acquirer Deal type Value ($ millions) Date announced
Tidal Therapeutics Sanofi Acquisition 470 9 April
Kuur Therapeutics Athenex Acquisition 185 4 May
Allcyte Exscientia Acquisition 69.7 15 June
COVAXX United Neuroscience Merger Undisclosed 1 April
Noria Therapeutics Bayer Acquisition Undisclosed 3 June
Zikani Therapeutics Eloxx Pharmaceuticals Acquisition Undisclosed 1 April
Park Therapeutics Tris Pharma Acquisition Undisclosed 29 April
Gamut Therapeutics SparingVision Acquisition Undisclosed 20 April
  1. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence

Top ten venture financings of 2Q21

Company (lead investors) Amount raised ($ millions) Round Date completed Location
Insilico Medicine (Warburg Pincus, Pavilion Capital, President International Development) 255 C 22 June China
Exscientia (SoftBank Vision Fund, Mubadala Investment, Casdin Capital) 225 D 26 April United Kingdom
Dermavant Sciences (Marathon Asset Management, NovaQuest Capital Management and others) 200 ND 7 June United States
Repertoire Immune Medicines (SoftBank Vision Fund, PSP Investments) 189 B 13 April United States
Point Biopharma (RA Capital Management, Johnson & Johnson Development, Surveyor Capital) 165 ND 30 June Canada
Inscripta (Fidelity Management and Research, Counterpoint Global, JS Capital Management) 150 E 5 April United States
Eikon Therapeutics (Column Group, Foresite Capital, Innovation Endeavors) 148 A 5 May United States
Apollo Therapeutics (Patient Square Capital, Rock Springs Capital, Reimagined Ventures) 145 ND 5 May United Kingdom
Jaguar Gene Therapy (Eli Lilly, Deerfield Management, Arch Venture) 139 B 13 April United States
Janux Therapeutics (RA Capital Management, Surveyor Capital, EcoR1 Capital) 125 B 20 April United States
  1. ND, not disclosed. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence

Top ten licensings/collaborations of 2Q21 by up-front cash

Researcher Partner Up-front cash ($ millions) Description
iTeos Therapeutics GlaxoSmithKline 625 GSK partners with iTeos Therapeutics to develop and commercialize EOS-448, an anti-TIGIT human IgG1 mAb to treat solid tumors
Agenus Bristol Myers Squibb 200 Agenus and Bristol Myers Squibb announce exclusive global license for Agenus’s anti-TIGIT bispecific fully human mAb program
Capsida Biotherapeutics AbbVie 80 Capsida Biotherapeutics partners with AbbVie to develop and commercialize capsid-engineered AAV-9 gene therapies to treat CNS disorders
Shoreline Biosciences BeiGene 45 Shoreline Biosciences and BeiGene announce strategic worldwide collaboration to develop and commercialize engineered natural killer cell therapies
Halozyme Therapeutics ViiV Healthcare 40 ViiV Healthcare and Halozyme enter global collaboration and license agreement for recombinant hyaluronidase drug delivery technology to enable development of long-acting medicines for HIV
Bio-Thera Solutions Biogen 30 Bio-Thera Solutions grants Biogen exclusive rights to develop and commercialize biosimilar tocilizumab (anti-IL-6 receptor) outside Greater China
FujiFilm Cellular Dynamics and Opsis Therapeutics BlueRock Therapeutics 30 BlueRock Therapeutics, Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics and Opsis Therapeutics enter into an R&D alliance to discover and develop iPSC therapies for eye diseases
Caraway Therapeutics AbbVie 17 Caraway Therapeutics establishes collaboration with AbbVie to develop novel small-molecule therapeutics for Parkinson’s disease and related disorders
Capsigen Biogen 15 Biogen partners with Capsigen to discover and develop novel AAV capsids for targeted CNS and neuromuscular disorders
Mirum Pharmaceuticals CANbridge Pharmaceuticals 11 Mirum Pharmaceuticals and CANbridge Pharmaceuticals enter into exclusive licensing agreement to develop and commercialize in Greater China the small molecule maralixibat, which targets the apical sodium-dependent bile acid transporter, for rare liver diseases
  1. mAb, monoclonal antibody; AAV-9, adeno-associated viral serotype 9 vector; CNS, central nervous system; IL, interleukin; iPSC, induced pluripotent stem cell. Source: BCIQ BioCentury Online Intelligence