Latest MassBio report shows just how much biopharma's biggest sector boomed in 2020
It’s clear by now that biopharma experienced a massive boom in 2020, but a new report out Thursday says the Massachusetts hub was particularly successful.
The trade group MassBio released its latest industry snapshot, summarizing the last calendar year as the most successful for the Massachusetts biopharma sector. Overall, Massachusetts-based biotechs raised $5.8 billion in 2020, marking a hefty 93% increase from the previous year.
That figure breaks all records kept by the organization, clocking in at 21% higher than the old record of $4.8 billion set in 2018.
Thursday’s report “reflects how 2020 was a tremendous year, especially with the challenges given by Covid,” MassBio president Kendalle Burlin O’Connell told Endpoints News. “The ability to respond with multiple vaccines and therapeutics was able to really generate confidence in the R&D abilities, interest that led to the record-breaking investment.”
So where did the money flow to? Burlin O’Connell noted that 35% of the funding went toward Series B rounds, and the IPO market — which was hot not just in Massachusetts but all around the country — helped boost funds even more.
MassBio reported that there were 21 area companies that jumped to Nasdaq in 2020, representing 32% of all US-based biopharma IPOs. In total, those companies raised about $3.9 billion, more than quadrupling the $910 million combined IPO raise from 2019.
Massachusetts’ biggest IPO winners were Relay with $460 million, Forma with $319 million and Atea with $300 million, MassBio said, while the average Massachusetts IPO raise clocked in at $181 million.
And as with every other industry, SPACs got in on the Massachusetts biopharma game as well. Though there were only four biopharma companies to go public through a SPAC, MassBio said, two of those were based in Massachusetts: Cerevel and Gemini. The biotechs raised $440 million and $216 million, respectively, through the blank check companies.
In terms of VC financing rounds, Massachusetts biopharma saw 15 raises of at least $100 million, with Atea leading the way here. Their $215 million Series D was the largest of any area biotech.
Looking ahead to 2021, Burlin O’Connell says the Massachusetts sector is carrying over its momentum into the new year.
“We’re off to an incredibly strong year,” she said. “It’s imperative that biopharma continue to get support they need through investor confidence and public policies.”
Kendalle Burlin O’Connell, MassBio via YouTube