The worldwide biopharma M&A volume of completed and announced deals (including contingent payments and asset deals) reached a record of USD 254 billion in 2019. The two mega-deals, BMS/Celgene (USD 74 billion) and Abbvie/Allergan (USD 63 billion) got most headlines in 2019 with the acquisition of Celgene by BMS being the third largest pharma acquisition in history.
US biopharma deal activity was very strong with 12 “USD 1-billion-plus” deals closed in 2019 and another 5 such deals announced. European deal volume (outside of the USD 63 billion Abbvie/Allergan transaction) was only around USD 10 billion. As in previous years, M&A transaction volume outside of the US and Europe in 2019 was modest with a transaction volume of only USD 5.4 billion.
Premiums paid in 2019 for public companies reached an average of almost 100%, demonstrating the continued appetite for companies with new products in development or on the market.
Return multiples to VC investors from M&A stayed at high levels in 2019 but did not reach the values of previous years. VC-backed company trade sales in oncology dropped in number and deal volume, whereas non-oncology orphan companies generated one third of transaction volume.