USD 9.2B of VC/PE investment in lifescience firms in Mar’21

We recorded 130 VC/PE transactions pertaining to the global life sciences sector for March 2021, aggregating to a sum of USD 9.2B. This is an all-time high deal count as well as amount.

The USA recorded 86 transactions with total investment of USD 6.3B. China reported investment of USD 1.7B from 18 VC/PE transactions. Rest of world accounted for 26 transactions aggregating to USD1.2B. US companies featured in 8 of top 10 transactions in Mar’21, with China and India accounting for 1 each.

The top transactions for Mar’21 were all dominated by US companies:

  • ElevateBio, USA (USD 525m), Series C
  • Ro, USA (USD 500m), Series D
  • Insitro, USA (USD 400m), Series C
  • Forward Health, USA (USD 225m), Series D
  • Komodo Health, USA (USD 220m), Series E

China also reported 2 IPOs aggregating a fund raise of USD 469m, and 16 cross border transactions involving in/out licensing deals and other forms of research partnerships. March saw Chinese companies report a total fund raise of USD 2.1B, somewhat below its regular monthly average.

  • Over the period Apr’20-Mar’21, or FY21 in Indian context, Chinese lifesciences companies raised USD 31.3B.
  • Of this, USD17.7B came via VC/PE transactions (113 deals), and USD14.4B came via IPOs (29 IPOs).
  • In March, Chinese companies announced 16 cross-border in/out licensing or JV transactions. The figure for FY21 was 105 transactions of this type.

Among the interesting cross border transactions was one by Beijing Tide Pharma, which out-licensed ex-China rights for a fibrosis therapy to a US firm for a potential USD500m+ payoff. The deal grants development and commercialization rights for TDI01 to US’s Graviton in all territories, excluding China. A Phase I clinical trial of TD101 for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is currently ongoing in the USA.

In a similarly large inlicensing transaction, Shanghai Haohai Biological,  a leading Chinese aesthetic medicine company, took exclusive licenses for all of US’s Eirion Therapeutics’ products for the territory of China. The companies have signed two product licenses that have the potential in aggregate to provide Eirion approximately $43 million in development fees, $444 million in sales milestones, with product royalty rates ranging from high single digits to the low twenties.

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