It’s clear by now that biopharma experienced a massive boom in 2020, but a new report out Thursday says the Massachusetts hub was particularly successful.
The trade group MassBio released its latest industry snapshot, summarizing the last calendar year as the most successful for the Massachusetts biopharma sector. Overall, Massachusetts-based biotechs raised $5.8 billion in 2020, marking a hefty 93% increase from the previous year.
That figure breaks all records kept by the organization, clocking in at 21% higher than the old record of $4.8 billion set in 2018.
Thursday’s report “reflects how 2020 was a tremendous year, especially with the challenges given by Covid,” MassBio president Kendalle Burlin O’Connell told Endpoints News. “The ability to respond with multiple vaccines and therapeutics was able to really generate confidence in the R&D abilities, interest that led to the record-breaking investment.”
So where did the money flow to? Burlin O’Connell noted that 35% of the funding went toward Series B rounds, and the IPO market — which was hot not just in Massachusetts but all around the country — helped boost funds even more.
MassBio reported that there were 21 area companies that jumped to Nasdaq in 2020, representing 32% of all US-based biopharma IPOs. In total, those companies raised about $3.9 billion, more than quadrupling the $910 million combined IPO raise from 2019.
Massachusetts’ biggest IPO winners were Relay with $460 million, Forma with $319 million and Atea with $300 million, MassBio said, while the average Massachusetts IPO raise clocked in at $181 million.
And as with every other industry, SPACs got in on the Massachusetts biopharma game as well. Though there were only four biopharma companies to go public through a SPAC, MassBio said, two of those were based in Massachusetts: Cerevel and Gemini. The biotechs raised $440 million and $216 million, respectively, through the blank check companies.
In terms of VC financing rounds, Massachusetts biopharma saw 15 raises of at least $100 million, with Atea leading the way here. Their $215 million Series D was the largest of any area biotech.
Looking ahead to 2021, Burlin O’Connell says the Massachusetts sector is carrying over its momentum into the new year.
“We’re off to an incredibly strong year,” she said. “It’s imperative that biopharma continue to get support they need through investor confidence and public policies.”
Kendalle Burlin O’Connell, MassBio via YouTube
Before David Liu became famous for inventing new forms of gene editing, he was known around academia in part for a more obscure innovation: a Rube Goldberg-esque system that uses bacteria-infecting viruses to take one protein and turn it into another.
Since 2011, Liu’s lab has used the system, called PACE, to dream up fantastical new proteins: DNA base editors far more powerful than the original; more versatile forms of the gene editor Cas9; insecticides that kill insecticide-resistant bugs; enzymes that slide synthetic amino acids into living organisms. But they struggled throughout to master one of the most common and powerful proteins in the biological world: proteases, a set of Swiss army knife enzymes that cut, cleave or shred other proteins in everything from viruses to humans.
The global pandemic may have roiled economies, killed hundreds of thousands and throttled entire industries, but the only effect it had on biopharma venture investing was to help turbocharge the field to giddy new heights.
Below you’ll find the new top 100 venture investors in the industry, ranked by the number of deals they were publicly involved in, as tracked by DealForma chief Chris Dokomajilar. The numbers master then calculated the estimated amount of money they put into each deal — divvying up the cash by the number of players — to indicate how they managed their syndicates.
Eli Lilly isn’t just gunning for a better diabetes drug in tirzepatide. They want to cut ahead of Novo Nordisk’s blockbuster rival Ozempic (semaglutide) on the obesity front as well. But a newly-claimed win in a head-to-head Phase III showdown over reducing A1C while shedding pounds — complete with clear evidence of superiority over the approved rival — could prove a tough sell right now.
Let’s start with the latest data from Lilly.
Gilead is chopping 179 jobs in its home state of California as it scales down its headquarters in favor of a hub in North Carolina.
Up to half of the roles would shift to Research Triangle Park, where the company is setting up a new business services and information technology center, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The precise number will depend on how many employees choose to relocate.
Per a WARN notice filed with the state, the layoffs are expected to be effective May 30.
The EMA has started a rolling review of Sputnik V, the Russian vaccine that holds the dubious title of the world’s first registered jab for Covid-19.
Seven months after the controversial clearance in Russia, Europe’s human medicines committee says it’s convinced to start looking at the application by data indicating that the adenovirus-based vaccine triggers the production of antibodies and immune cells against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The jury’s still out on whether the first wave of AI companies can significantly change drug development, but investors are increasingly buying into the hype.
Exscientia, the decade-old UK machine learning outfit, announced Thursday that they’ve expanded their Series C, first announced in May, from $60 million to $100 million. The expansion most notably includes BlackRock, the private equity firm that has been wading deeper and deeper into biotech. They now join Novo Holdings, Bristol Myers Squibb and others among the company’s most recent backers.
In what could be an early shot in the battle against drugmakers that whiff on confirmatory studies to support accelerated approvals, the FDA ordered Bristol Myers Squibb late last year to give up Opdivo’s approval in SCLC. Now, Merck is next on the firing line — are we seeing the FDA buckling down on post-marketing offenders?
Merck has withdrawn its marketing approval for PD-(L)1 inhibitor Keytruda in metastatic small cell lung cancer as part of what it describes as an “industry-wide evaluation” by the FDA of drugs that do not meet the post-marketing checkpoints on which their accelerated nods were based, the company said Monday.
GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology were hopeful that one of their partnered antibodies would carve out a win after getting the invite to a major NIH study in hospitalized Covid-19 patients. But just like Eli Lilly, the pair’s drug couldn’t hit the mark, and now they’ll be left to take a hard look at the game plan.
The NIH has shut down enrollment for GSK and Vir’s antibody VIR-7831 in its late-stage ACTIV-3 trial after the drug showed negligible effect in achieving sustained recovery in hospitalized Covid-19 patients, the partners said Wednesday.
A little more than a week after BrainStorm acknowledged that regulators at the FDA had informed them that the biotech needed more data before it could expect to gain an approval for its ALS treatment NurOwn — while still touting a “clear signal” of efficacy and not ruling out an application — the agency has decided to clarify the record in a most unusual statement.
The FDA statement amounts to a straight slapdown, offering a different set of efficacy numbers from the company’s public presentation last November and ruling out any chance of statistical significance.
贸易集团Mass-Bio将其最近的一年作为Mass-Achu-Setts Biopharma Secort最成功的一年，并将其称为“快照”（Summa-Mass-Bio-Pharma Secort）。总体而言，总部位于马萨诸塞州的biotechs在2020年筹集了58亿美元，比去年大幅增长了93%。
周四的报道“反映了2020年是多么辉煌的一年，有了科维德的贡献，”大众生物总裁Kendalle Burlin O'Connell告诉End-Points News。“与多个客户合作的能力能够在研发方面实现更多的合作，从而导致了创新记录的出现。”
Kendalle Burlin O'Connell，通过YouTube的Mass Bio
据《旧金山纪事报》报道，多达一半的职位将转移到Research Triangle Park，该公司正在那里建立一个新的商业服务和信息技术中心。确切的数字将取决于有多少员工选择搬迁。
拥有十年历史的英国机器学习公司Exscientia周四宣布，他们将5月首次宣布的C系列产品的规模从6000万美元扩大到1亿美元。最引人注目的扩张包括私人股本公司贝莱德，该公司在生物技术领域越陷越深。他们现在加入了Novo Holdings,Bristol Myers Squibb和其他公司的最新支持者行列。