RNA, cell & gene therapies, artificial intelligence, CRISPR and oncology related deals dominate the landscape Biotech companies in U.S. awarded largest sums of capital, followed by Mainland China and U.K.
LONDON, March 14, 2022– Clarivate Plc (NYSE: CLVT), a global leader in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, today announced the release of a new report, Biopharma deals in review: Review of an extraordinary 2021 and expectations for the future Biopharma Deals , which highlights emerging market trends and features detailed analysis of the key deals of 2021 and potential implications for 2022. This year’s report finds RNA, cell & gene therapies, AI, CRISPR and oncology related deals dominated the landscape in 2021. U.S. biotech companies raised the majority of capital followed by Mainland China and the UK.
While the volume of biotech investments has lessened, 2021 was yet another extraordinary year for biopharma deal-making. Trends driving licensing, collaborations and joint ventures included: a maturation of deals toward co-development and co-commercialization, the increasingly global nature of deal-making, continued energy around oncology therapeutics and pharma companies seeking footholds within the enabling technologies underpinning next-generation treatments.
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves to become endemic, life science industries will continue to assess the changing drug development landscape. Emerging trends suggest innovators and investors will drive the next great advances in human health. This year’s Biopharma Deals report findings, include:
- Investments continue record-breaking trends, while M&As track downward – Continuing the record-setting pace in the first half of 2021, a new record was set for global biopharma licensing, collaborations and joint venture deals in all of 2021. A record 1,968 deals were announced in 2021, and the total value of these ventures for which financial details were disclosed was $213.6 billion, up from $198.2 billion in 2020. Overall, 2021 had the highest total financing and deals value over the past five years. This was driven by a number of high-value transactions; 72 deals were worth at least $1 billion for a combined value of $136.5 billion, reaching a new height. This compares with 58 such deals worth $118.0 billion in 2020, 40 such deals valued at $92.5 billion in 2019 and 31 such deals worth $63.6 billion in 2018.
- Top deals are increasing – Several of the top deals in 2021 involved co-development and/or co-commercialization of assets. Well-financed biotech companies are becoming less interested in capital investments and more interested in deals that grant them the ability to retain commercialization rights and integrate their assets across the development lifecycle.
- Biotech companies in the United States awarded largest sums of capital – A deep dive into BioWorld data showed that, in 2021, biotech companies based in the United States raised the majority from private and venture sources — accounting for 67% of all monies raised worldwide. Massachusetts-based companies accounted for 30% of all VC financing. Companies from the San Francisco Bay area collected 13% of the global total, just ahead of Mainland China-based biotechs, which had a 12% share of the global take. Biotech companies based in the United Kingdom attracted a 9% share of the total, nudging just ahead of the San Diego cluster (8%). In addition, partnerships established by companies in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region indicate there is growing interest in accessing global markets, potentially with the goal of maximizing the returns on investment beyond what can be achieved in their local markets. These partnerships primarily focus on gene, RNA and oncology therapies, in keeping with the themes observed across all deal-making in 2021.
- RNA technology gains traction with investors – The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled adoption of RNA-based vaccines and therapies, helping to pave the way for others to enter the market. Both established and start-up companies are investing money into determining where mRNA, self-amplifying RNA (saRNA), small interfering RNA (siRNA) and RNA interference (RNAi) will have the greatest benefit.
- Investments in CRISPR are likely to benefit rare diseases – CRISPR techniques also have the potential to transform therapeutic approaches for diseases with very few treatment options. As a result, CRISPR has emerged as a hot platform in the past decade, with a number of biotech companies developing therapeutic approaches using the technology.
- Oncology-related deals and M&As dominate the landscape– Oncology-focused deals accounted for a large proportion of global biopharma licensing, collaborations and joint venture transactions (29% of all deals) in 2021. Of these, 25 were valued at more than $1 billion, and nine reached at least the $2 billion mark.
Mike Ward, Global Head of Life Sciences and Healthcare Thought Leadership, Clarivate: “The desire to develop innovative medicines that will deliver better and more robust health outcomes for patients will continue to be a key driver for biopharma deal-making activity. While pharma companies will still look to acquire potential blockbuster treatments to replace existing products that are losing patent protection, others are urgently seeking inroads to the enabling technologies being developed by biotechs, such as gene and cell therapies, genome-editing, antibody-drug conjugates, RNA technologies and AI/ML applications, which are expected to underpin the next generation of transformative blockbusters.”
Clarivate is committed to supporting customers across the entire drug, device and medical technology lifecycles to advance, create and protect innovation. By combining patient journey data, therapeutic area expertise, artificial intelligence and analytics in ways that unlock hidden insights, data-driven decisions and accelerate innovation, Clarivate’s end-to-end research intelligence is designed to enable customers to make informed evidence-based decisions and better understand the changing landscape.
Methodology for the Report
Clarivate technology and experts harmonize billions of datapoints from thousands of sources and provide a unified view to drive decision-making for a variety of use cases, including deal-making, forecasting, portfolio strategy and more. Leveraging data and insights from BioWorld™ and Cortellis Deals Intelligence™, as well as a proprietary, predictive analytics which draw on more than 20 traits from across the entire body of Cortellis data, including 110,000+ life sciences deals, 36,000+ contracts and 9,500+ unredacted contracts, Clarivate drew upon technology and expertise to harmonize datapoints from multiple sources to provide a unified view of deal-making in 2021 and potential implications.
To learn more about Clarivate data products, visit www.clarivate.com.
Clarivate™ is a global leader in providing solutions to accelerate the lifecycle of innovation. Our bold mission is to help customers solve some of the world’s most complex problems by providing actionable information and insights that reduce the time from new ideas to life-changing inventions in the areas of science and intellectual property. We help customers discover, protect and commercialize their inventions using our trusted subscription and technology-based solutions coupled with deep domain expertise. For more information, please visit clarivate.com.
Director, External Communications, Life Sciences & Healthcare
 Source: Biopharma deals in review: a look back at an energetic H1 and what to expect next. Clarivate, [online], Available at: https://clarivate.com/lp/biopharma-deals-in-review/. (accessed on February 21, 2022).
 Carey, K. Deals reach a record $213.5B, as M&As in 2021 struggle (January 12, 2022). BioWorld, [online], Available at: https://www.bioworld.com/articles/515071-deals-reach-a-record-2135b-as-m-and-as-in-2021-struggle. (accessed on February 21, 2022).
 Source: BioWorld; Cortellis Deals Intelligence
 Source: BioWorld; Cortellis Deals Intelligence