It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This was the biotech industry in 2016.
While this year marked yet another blockbuster year for dealmaking where larger pharma companies scooped up assets from early-stage companies, listed companies struggled through the steepest downturn this century in the biotech stock index–yes, unbelievably, even worse than the equity crash in 2008/9.
But even so, this event has not dampened the mood or activity at Europe’s largest life science partnering event, BIO-Europe® 2016, which is seeing record numbers this year with over 20,000 one-to-one meetings among 3,650+ business development executives. Conference sessions covered all of the key hot button issue and topics, from Big Data, cell and gene therapies, to mega mergers.
BIO’s Dave Thomas opened the day with findings from the report “The State of Emerging Company Dealmaking.” A couple highlights:
- Immuno-oncology deals continue to be robust; operating in downturn environment but long-term demand for products will continue
- This could be a record year for clinical upfront payments in the sector
- We are really not seeing an impact on the acquisition climate
The opening plenary featured an interesting discussion on value and pricing. Joe Damond of BIO brought brought up the presence of drug pricing as an issue in the US Presidential campaign this year, which is having a real impact on markets/valuation. One statement in particular had us thinking. To paraphrase, Kate Bingham, Managing Partner at SV Life Sciences Advisers, commented that the US is basically supporting innovative drug development for the rest of the world because of the high drug prices. Bayer AG’s Head of Development Jörg Möller added “The price pressure for innovation has clearly increased. The problem is focus on cost not value.” Therein lies the pricing and innovation debate in a nutshell.
The press is buzzing. Read some of the great coverage coming from BIO-Europe:
- Daily updates on the BIO.NRW blog
- Stories on LaBiotech .eu
- Video interviews coming soon at EBD Group Insight