USD 6.6B of VC/PE investment in lifesciences firms in May’21

We recorded 94 VC/PE transactions pertaining to the global life sciences sector for May 2021, aggregating to a sum of USD 6.56B.

The USA recorded 60 transactions aggregating to a total investment of USD 3.3B. China reported investment of USD 1.8B from 12 VC/PE transactions. Rest of the world accounted for 22 transactions aggregating to USD1.5B. US companies featured in 5 of the top 10 transactions in May’21, Chinese based companies accounted for 2 of the top ten transactions..

After several months of regular Chinese IPOs, there was no IPO in May; while cross border transactions involving in/out licensing deals and other forms of partnerships by Chinese companies dropped to 7 as compared to an average of 10+ in the previous few months.

The one unique deal of the month was where India’s Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) in-licensed the exclusive India rights for PRG1801, an anti-BCMA CAR-T cell therapy injection based on single domain antibody technology, from Shenzhen Pregene Biopharma. This is perhaps the first time an Indian company has in-licensed an innovative product from a Chinese biotech.

DRL agreed to pay an upfront payment and future milestone payments of $5 million for first indication and up to $ 7.5 million of milestone payments for subsequent indications, plus a double-digit royalty, up to $150 million, on future sales of PRG1801 in the licensed territory. Shanghai Pregene (its Chinese name appears to be both Puruijin and Prikin), is a relatively obscure Chinese biotech, just coming out of the woodworks. It does not appear to be among the top 100 Chinese biotech firms.

The top fund raising transactions for May’21:

  • Genscript Bio, China (USD 1B), PIPE
  • Cadila’s Animal Health business, India (USD 397m), Buy-Out
  • Collective Health, USA (USD 280m), Series F
  • Cue Health, USA (USD 235m)
  • Esco Lifesciences, Singapore (USD 200m), Series E

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