2020 was the best year ever for Swiss biotech in relation to financing activities, with a total of approximately CHF 3.4B raised. The industry’s R&D spending was up 10%, while record FDA and EMA approvals were obtained, preparing the ground for future performance.
Partner, GSA Biotechnology Leader, EY
Partner, Financial Accounting Advisory Services, EY
The global IPO class of 2020 was playing in a league of its own with a total of 84 IPOs (2019: 57), which generated more than USD 13.4B (2019: USD 6.4B) of new capital. Some 76 US IPOs were able to raise fresh money to the tune of approximately USD 12.7B (2019: 46 US IPOs / USD 5.6B). Besides the traditional IPOs, a little over one third of the newly public companies were using Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPAC) structures to become listed companies. Further, of the total global IPOs of 84, 8 were European IPOs, raising USD 0.7B (2019: 11 European IPOs / USD 0.8B).
The Swiss biotech industry generated revenues of CHF 4.5B, compared to CHF 4.8B in 2019. This drop in revenues was mainly driven by favorable one-time events in 2019 (relating to AC Immune, Basilea and CRISPR) which didn’t recur in 2020. Nevertheless, higher revenues for those biotechs selling marketed products/services continued to be achieved.
2020 was the best year ever for Swiss biotech in relation to financing activities, with a total of approximately CHF 3.4B raised.
Public companies were able to collect almost CHF 2.7B of fresh capital. This included the successful IPO of ADC Therapeutics from Lausanne on NYSE, which raised approximately CHF 260M, with the implementation of follow on financing in the fall for an additional CHF 210M. Other significant “cash collectors” were CRISPR Therapeutics with more than CHF 940M, Idorsia with CHF 866M and Molecular Partners with CHF 80M. Further, Basilea made use of the attractive interest environment, replacing an existing convertible loan with a new one of CHF 125M.
The biggest portion of the private capital was raised by VectivBio Holding AG in a combination of equity and debt financing totaling CHF 135M. SOPHiA Genetics was also able to raise CHF 100M and the newly founded company Noema Pharma got an initial capital injection from the founding VCs of CHF 54M.
“2020 was the best year ever for Swiss biotech in relation to financing activities, with a total of CHF 3.4B raised”
Several Swiss biotech companies were also acquired in 2020 by either (big) pharma or other biotech companies. The following brief snapshot lists the most prominent transactions in 2020:
The Swiss biotech sector was successful not only on the financing front but also in the area of collaborations and licensing arrangements, and several successful new partnerships were established in 2020. Amongst those were:
In 2020, the industry saw more approvals by the FDA (57 compared to 48 in 2019), all granted within a review period of less than a year, and there was also an increase of almost 50% in European approvals by EMA (97 compared to 66 in 2019). Swissmedic itself approved 42 new drugs in 2020, which was over a third more than the 29 approvals for innovative new drugs in 2019.
Nevertheless, there were also some setbacks to be noted during 2020. For example, Santhera Pharmaceuticals reported in October 2020 that the Phase III results for the SIDEROS study in DMD did not meet expectations, which led to restructuring of the company.
Several Swiss biotech companies received awards in 2020:
All of these awards are yet another clear indication of the strength of the Swiss biotech sector and a reflection of all of the significant progress made over recent years.