Biotech Funding: The Tale of Three Regions

2020 YTD in Numbers: the US, Europe and Asia

2020 Biotech Funding YTD in Numbers: the US, Europe and Asia

As the largest life science vertical, Biotech is attracting significant funding and most of the investors’ attention. We took a deep dive into the CipherBio data platform to explore each of the three biggest regional scenes that make up the global Biotech landscape: the US, Europe and Asia.

In one of our recent articles where we discussed the 2020 Biotech Funding Overview we demonstrated that this life science vertical is thriving, receiving more funding than ever – despite what’s marked as the worst global economic crisis in living history. But how this funding flow is spread across the three regions and how each of them fared in 2020 to date, an unusual year that saw the world changed overnight? We leveraged the wealth of the CipherBio data collected over the current year to date to discover how Biotech funding and deal-making activities is spanning across the global landscape and arrive at the data-driven insights to address the questions such as  who are the most active investors in the US, Europe and Asia; what companies raised the most funding in each region; what are the most attractive Biotech funding locations in each geography; who are the up-and-coming Biotech companies that had their private market debut in 2020?

2020 Top 10 US Biotech Investors

With 13 deals this year to date Orbimed and RA Capital Management are the most active US Biotech investors. In 2020 to date Orbimed closed deals such as GentiBio $20M Seed Round, Prelude Therapeutics $50M Series C and Silverback Therapeutics, Inc. $78.5M Series B. RA Capital Management closely follows with transactions such as $78M Series A of  cellular immunotherapies Biotech Artiva Biotherapeutics, $80M Series B of Pandion Therapeutics a clinical-stage Biotech developing novel therapeutics for autoimmune disease which later this year had its public market debut with an $135M IPO in July, as well as SutroVax’s $110M Series D financing and Synthego Corporation $100M Series D. Wellington Company and Perceptive Advisors occupy the third place with seven deals in 2020 to date each.

Most Active US Biotech Investors As Per Number of Deals

Figure 1: Most Active US Biotech Investors As Per Number of Deals; Source: CipherBio, September 2020

2020 Top 10 Biotech Investors in Europe

Most Active European Biotech Investors As Per Number of Deals

Figure 2: Most Active European Biotech Investors As Per Number of Deals; Source CipherBio, September 2020

The most active European Biotech investor is Novo Holdings, a Denmark-based VC investor with deals such as a $110M Series C of Praxis Precision Medicines, a clinical-stage genetic neuroscience company developing therapies for patients affected by complex brain disorders, including psychiatric disorders, movement disorders and rare pediatric epilepsies; Bolt Biotherapeutics, Inc $93.5M Series C and  Freeline Therapeutics.

Janus Henderson Ventures closely follows with nine deals this year, including the $105M Series C of ALX Oncology Inc, a Biotech company  developing a new approach to CD47 blockade which also went public later this year, and $54M Series B of Olema, a preclinical Biotech developing new drugs for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.

Third place is taken by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, an investor which closed deals such as €66M ($78M) Series A of T-knife, a German Biotech company developing T cell receptors for T cell therapy of cancer and $27M Series C of T3 Pharmaceuticals, a Swiss Biotech developing cancer treatments using live bacteria.

2020 Top 10 Biotech Investors in Asia

Most Active Asian Biotech Investors As Per Number of Deals

Figure 3: Most Active Asian Biotech Investors As Per Number of Deals; Source CipherBio, September 2020

Among Asian investors CR-CP Life Science Fund was the most active with three deals sealed in the current year to date, including $100M Series B of JW Therapeutics, a Shanghai, China-based developer of cell-based therapy technologies created to revolutionize cancer treatment, $160M Series B of Genor Biopharma, a Beijing China-based Biotech company focused on tumors and other major diseases and $44M Series C of the UK-based ReViral, a Biotech dedicated to enlarging the antiviral market by developing novel first-in-class compounds. Mitsubishi UFJ Capital Co. Ltd, one of the first venture capital firms in Japan and an investment company backed by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the leading Japanese financial group, sealed two Biotech deals in 2020 so far – $50M Series C of DiscGenics, a US company  developing regenerative therapies that help patients with degenerative diseases of the spine, and $23.8M Series B of Numab, a Swiss Biotech active in cancer immunotherapy field.

Top 10 Biotech Locations in the US

Top 10 Biotech Funding Locations in the US As Measured by the Number of Companies That Raised Funds in 2020 YTD

Figure 4: Top 10 Biotech Locations in the US As Measured by the Number of Companies That Raised Funds in 2020 YTD; Source CipherBio, September 2020

The US is home to the highest number of the world’s Biotech companies. But, are there locations that these companies tend to gravitate to? CipherBio database reveals that Cambridge, MA hosts the highest portion of the Biotech which raised funds in 2020 so far, with 24 of these  companies finding their place there. San Diego is the second-ranked location with half the number of companies compared to the first-placed Cambridge, MA, closely followed by San Francisco.

It is widely known that the US has the highest investor count in life science industry. But do those active in Biotech space tend to concentrate in certain areas? To discover this, we mined our database to reveal what are the micro locations that are particularly good in attracting investors.

Top 10 Biotech Locations in the US As Measured by the Number of Investors Active in 2020 YTD

Figure 5: Top 10 Biotech Locations in the US As Measured by the Number of Investors Active in 2020 YTD; Source CipherBio, September 2020

The data reveals that New York and San Francisco lead the table with 52 and 42 investors respectively headquartered in these two cities. With Boston as the third-placed location in addition to first-placed New York, it appears that the East Coast dominates the West Coast when it comes to Biotech investor count.

Top 10 Biotech Locations in Europe

Top 10 Biotech Funding Locations in Europe

Figure 6: Top 10 Biotech Locations in Europe As Measured by the Number of Companies That Raised Funds in 2020 YTD; Source CipherBio, September 2020

By far the most notable European Biotech geography is the UK as a country where 7 deals were closed in this vertical, including those sizeable ones such as  Immunocore ($130M Series B), Freeline Therapeutics ($120M Series B) and Compass Pathways ($80M Series B) as well as NodThera, a Cambridge-based company that raised $55M Series B backed by Novo Holdings, Cowen Healthcare, and Sanofi Ventures.

Top 10 Biotech Locations in Europe As Measured by the Number of Investors

Figure 7: Top 10 Biotech Locations in Europe As Measured by the Number of Investors Active in 2020 YTD; Source CipherBio, September 2020

In terms of the number of investors active in the space, the leading European Biotech location is Switzerland as a country which hosts 14 Biotech investors active in 2020, with France (12) and Germany (12) hot on its heels.

Top 10 Biotech Locations in Asia

Top 10 Biotech Funding Locations in Asia As Measured by the Number of Companies That Raised Funds

Figure 8: Top 10 Biotech Locations in Asia As Measured by the Number of Companies That Raised Funds in 2020 YTD; Source CipherBio, September 2020

Asia is becoming an increasingly active Biotech geography both in terms of companies and investors headquartered in this geography. CipherBio data demonstrates that by far the largest Biotech funding location in Asia is China, with  10 out of 16 Asian deals being sealed in this country, out of which Lepu Biotech $186M Series B led by Riverhead Capital, Sunshine Insurance Group and Ping An Capital was the largest one. Israel and Japan are second placed with most notable deals being a $30M funding of Israel-based Orasis Pharmaceuticals, an emerging ophthalmic pharmaceutical company with the goal of making near vision clear again, and Modulus Discovery, a Tokyo-based preclinical stage company focused on rapid design and generation of small molecule clinical candidates for a range of high-value disease targets, which closed $25.5M Series B in May 2020.

Top 10 Biotech Locations in Asia As Measured by the Number of Investors Active in 2020

Figure 9: Top 10 Biotech Locations in Asia As Measured by the Number of Investors Active in 2020 YTD; Source CipherBio, September 2020

CipherBio data shows that China dominates Asian Biotech landscape in terms of investor count with 37 investors active in this space in 2020, almost double the number of investors in second-ranked Japan (19). Hong Kong and South Korea are third-placed with 113 active investors located in each of these countries.

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Top 10 Biotech Deals in the US

Top Biotech Deals in 2020 YTD Involving US-Based Companies

Figure 10: Top Biotech Deals in 2020 YTD Involving US-Based Companies; Source CipherBio, September 2020

Being the largest Biotech market in the world, the US is home to some of the most headline-grabbing deals in 2020. These include US-based immunotherapy developer Lyell Immunopharma, which raised $493m in Series C funding from pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline in March 2020. Another massive transaction is $310M Series C of Everest Medicines, a Biotech company developing and commercializing globally innovative therapies focused on patients in Greater China and other emerging Asia Pacific markets. EQRx and Erasca each closed a $200M transaction, for the former it was a series A and for the later a Series B transaction.

Top 10 Biotech Deals in Europe

Top Biotech Deals in 2020 YTD Involving European Companies

Figure 11: Top Biotech Deals in 2020 YTD Involving European Companies; Source CipherBio, September 2020

Most notable Biotech deals in Europe include Immunocore, a UK company focusing on biological therapies in oncology,  infectious and autoimmune diseases, which raised a $130M series B round in March 2020. Second-ranked transaction involved $125M Series B of iTeos Therapeutics, a  Belgium clinical-stage Biotech dedicated to developing  immunotherapies for cancer patients. It is followed by two London-based Biotech companies that went on to raise funding in 2020: Freeline Therapeutics, a company that develops liver directed gene therapies for bleeding disorders and other diseases, which raised  $120M Series C and Compass Pathways, a company active in developing psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression, which raised $80M Series B in April 2020, only to announce its $107.2M IPO in September.

Top 10 Biotech Deals in Asia

Top Biotech Deals in 2020 YTD Involving Asian Companies

Figure 12: Top Biotech Deals in 2020 YTD Involving Asian Companies; Source CipherBio, September 2020

All but one transaction from the top ten Asian deals in 2020 involved Chinese Biotech companies, demonstrating clear dominance of Chinese market in the Asian region. $278.5M Series A of Mabwell Biotech marks the biggest Asian deal in 2020, standing head and shoulders above other transactions. Lepu Biotech, a Chinese company focusing on development of cancer diagnosis and therapy, had its $186M Series B this year and Genor Biopharma, a China-based company with a product pipeline mainly centered in the field of tumors and other major diseases, raised $160M Series B this year. Legend Biotech, a global clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on novel cell therapies for oncology and other indications, raised $150.5M Series A only to go public in an $424M IPO, making its NASDAQ debut in June 2020.

Top 10 Biotech Newcomers in the US

Top Deals Involving US-Based US Biotech Companies

Figure 13: Top Deals Involving US-Based US Biotech Companies Which Raised Series A in 2020 YTD; Source CipherBio, September 2020

The current year to date saw some of the largest private market debuts, including heavy-weights such as EQRx, a Biotech dedicated to re-engineering the process of drug commercialization from drug discovery to patient delivery to offer a market-based solution for the rising cost of medicines. This Biotech company made a notable entrance to private funding market with a $200M Series A from prominent investors such as GV, ARCH Venture Partners, and Andreessen Horowitz, raising more than double the second-ranked Korro Bio. This runner up is a Cambridge, MA-based company developing novel platform for precise, single-base, RNA editing to modulate protein function for therapeutic applications which closed $91.5M Series A financing earlier this month. It is followed by Kriya Therapeutics’ Series A in May 2020 worth $80.5M, a gene therapy company focused on designing and developing treatments for prevalent chronic diseases such as Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

Top 10 Biotech Newcomers in Europe

Bar EQRx, a visible outlier among the American private market debuts, top of the table representing European 2020 newcomers saw the deal sizes broadly in line with that of their US peers.

However, as we move towards the end of the table, European Series A size declines much more steeply, dwindling to only one fifth of the American deal size at the bottom of the table representing top ten European early-stage Biotech deals in 2020 to date (Figure 14). Most notable deals include German company T-knife which raised $78M Series A in April this year. Bright Peak Therapeutics, a Swiss Biotech developing a platform capable of chemically synthesizing and optimizing natural proteins such as cytokines, also launched this year with $35M Series A in July. Italian Biotech developing treatments for autoimmune diseases Enthera Pharmaceuticals started its private funding journey with a $33.2M Series A.

Top Deals Involving European Biotech Companies

Figure 14: Top Deals Involving European Biotech Companies Which Raised Series A in 2020 YTD; Source CipherBio, September 2020

Top 10 Biotech Newcomers in Asia

A record breaking deal among the global private market debuts is Chinese Mabwell, which managed to raise massive $278M Series A in April this year, almost twice as much as the runner up Legend Biotech, another Chinese company with gigantic Series A which which went public two months later in an equally impressive  $424M IPO. Outstripped by the leading two companies, ABM Therapeutics is third-ranked with a considerably smaller financing round ($20M), demonstrating that while Chinese top newcomers dominate their American and European peers, the advantage swiftly melts as we move towards the end of the table where Asian (and Chinese) deals are dwarfed by those in the US and Europe (Figure 15).

Top Deals Involving Asian Biotech Companies Which Raised Series A

Figure 15: Top Deals Involving Asian Biotech Companies Which Raised Series A in 2020 YTD; Source CipherBio, September 2020

Final Words

In two recent articles covering Biotech, this one and the 2020 Biotech Funding Overview published earlier this month, we took a deep dive into the Biotech data collected on the CipherBio data platform since the beginning of the year to unveil how the industry fared during 2020 to date and discover characteristics across the three main Biotech geographies shedding light on some of the regional intricacies. The CipherBio data shows that, unlike swaths of the global economy, Biotech has been booming in 2020 so far, with funding at record-breaking levels.

To see more details about investors and companies active in this space, visit free online cipherbio.com database to make customized searches  and get valuable, data-driven Biotech insights as well as those spanning other life science verticals such as Digital Health/AI, Medical Devices and Diagnostics.

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