Global Gene Therapy Deals in 2014 Skyrocketed to Nearly $5 Billion

According to GlobalData’s research data, the total number of deals in the global gene therapy market has increased from 16 cases in 2013 to 36 cases in 2014, with the combined value soared from $ 122.8 million to $ 4.9 billion over the same period, which represents 40 times growth.

As a new biotechnology, gene therapy is still in the experimental stage, and most products are in early stage clinical development, leading to mergers and acquisitions activity is usually relatively low.

The impressive growth in 2014 overall turnover was mainly due to Abbott Laboratories’ $ 2.9 billion acquisition of CFR Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company in Chile developing the gene medicine for alcoholism and chronic pain. CFR has a clinical product that targets aldehyde dehydrogenase, an enzyme generated in the liver and kidneys assisting alcohol rejection.

GlobalData’s senior industry analyst Adam Dion said that, “Licensing and partnerships, together with capital raisings, have represented the largest number of gene therapy deals struck since 2009. Licensing deals have so far outpaced historical levels, with over $1.8 billion signed in 2015.”

“These deals include Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $1-billion licensing agreement with UniQure to develop S100AI, UniQure’s Phase I candidate for congestive heart failure, representing the deal with the greatest financial impact so far this year. Voyager Therapeutics also signed an $845-million agreement with Genzyme to develop three Phase I programs concerning the central nervous system.” he added.

The analyst also indicates that in addition to licensing agreements, equity offerings are also a common strategy for companies to raise funds, which enables them to advance clinical pipelines and bring gene therapies to market.

“ Nearly $1.5 billion was raised in the gene therapy arena from 2014 to 2015, of which almost $750 million resulted from Avalanche, bluebird bio, and Spark Therapeutics going public. Furthermore, Paris-based Cellectis announced in March 2015 that it had raised $230 million in an initial public offering, which the company will use to advance its blood cancer pipeline from preclinical testing to Phase I clinical trials. This rise in financial investment may be indicative of renewed investor confidence, and could lead to higher-than-expected deal activity for gene therapies in the future.” he explained.

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