Media Release - 19 June 2008
Partner, Ernst & Young
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Executive Director, Ernst & Young
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Record venture capital and heated deal environment propel global biotechnology industry forward in 2007
Ernst & Young’s 2008 Global Biotechnology Report reveals robust investment in the industry; sweeping trends that are transforming the industry
The global biotechnology industry achieved record levels in financing and deal making in 2007, as investors and strategic partners showed strong confidence in the sector amid tightening global financial conditions that will continue to test the industry in 2008. These and other findings were highlighted in Beyond Borders: Global Biotechnology Report 2008, Ernst & Young’s annual report on the trends shaping the biotechnology industry.
“In 2007, investors were drawn to the tremendous value of biotech’s innovation, with impressive results, as venture financing and deal making reached unprecedented heights,” said Glen Giovannetti, Ernst & Young’s Global Biotechnology Leader. “To continue its multi-year track record of progress, the industry must meet the current challenges of cooling public equity markets, greater regulatory scrutiny and higher product approval and reimbursement hurdles with fiscal discipline and the creativity and innovation for which it is known.”
Key industry findings described in the report include:
- The global biotechnology industry had a very strong year on the financing front. Companies in the Americas and Europe raised more than US$29.9 billion – a new high excluding the outlier genomics bubble year of 2000.
- Venture financing reached an all-time high in 2007 with investment totaling about US$7.5 billion, fueled by a record total of US$5.5 billion in the US and 72% growth in Canada.
- Global public biotechnology company revenue rose by 8% in 2007, crossing the US$80 billion threshold for the first time. Absent the acquisition of several leading biotech revenue producers by big pharma, revenue would have increased by about 17% – in line with the industry’s historical compound annual growth rate.
- The global industry’s net loss decreased from US$7.4 billion in 2006 to US$2.7 billion in 2007. In the US, the industry came closer to aggregate profitability than in any previous year.
- Deal making reached new heights in 2007. In the US, the total potential value of deals announced during the year – including mergers, acquisitions and strategic alliances – was close to US$60 billion, outdistancing all other years by a wide margin. In Europe, the total potential value of such deals skyrocketed to about US$34 billion.
New Zealand industry expands core capabilities
The New Zealand biotech industry has traditionally had as its backbone agricultural biotech. From this strong position the sector has forged ahead and is now expanding into other fields, including the emergence of homegrown companies from world-class research facilities, such as Eco Diesel and Kode Biotech, focused on segments such as biofuels and personalized medicines.
Commenting on the state of the New Zealand biotech sector, Jon Hooper, Ernst & Young’s Biotechnology Leader for New Zealand said, “A vital biotechnology industry is essential to our economic performance which is under pinned by a strong primary sector and a strength in agricultural biotechnology. Many stakeholders, including government, have recognized this and have been actively supporting the development of this industry which is now also gaining traction in the emerging areas of biomedical research, cleantech and drug development.”
Like many governments in Asia Pacific, the New Zealand government has made biotech an economic focus. In recognition of the sector’s long term potential, the government is providing incentives an d investments in the sector that are sizable, particularly relative to the size of the economy.
- The New Zealand government puts 25% of its total research investment in biotechnology - a much larger share of investment than that of any other member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
- To encourage private investment in the industry, the government also provides a Research & Development tax credit that is among the most generous in the OECD – the 15% tax credit is refundable even for companies that are pre-revenue or loss-making.
- Investment by venture funds is expected to increase further with the introduction of a new special limited-partnership regime that will enable offshore investors to be taxed on returns based on their personal tax profile
- The creation of the Trans-Tasman Biotech fund designed to support significant alliances between New Zealand and Australian companies
All of these initiatives are designed to foster New Zealand biotech strengths, increase competitiveness and promote access to international markets for New Zealand’s biotechnology products and services.
Ernst & Young Executive Director, Michael Vukcevic commented. “If 2007 was a year of historic change, the good news is that angel and VC investors have been proactive about the early stage funding of innovation in New Zealand. Internationally we are seeing strategic buyers looking towards New Zealand and the innovative companies here and wanting to have an investment stake in these businesses, now.”
Thriving in a competitive global industry will take determination, strategic focus and reaching across borders. An increasing number of New Zealand biotech companies are showing that they have what it takes to compete on the global stage.
New rules for a changing game: sweeping industry changes ahead
The Beyond Borders report examines three key trends that are transforming business models and the nature of competition for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
Reinventing big pharma: As they face unprecedented patent expirations, pharma companies are trying to boost earnings by cutting costs and making deals. But the report points out that these approaches can only buy so much time – longer term, pharma companies need to fundamentally reinvent their structures and incentives to improve the productivity of their innovation efforts. For biotech firms, the opportunity is to work collaboratively with big pharma, using creative business models that give them increased flexibility and a larger share of the value they help create.
The rise of personalized medicine: The adoption of personalized medicine is being hastened by business drivers such as pricing pressures and safety concerns. The Beyond Borders report predicts that personalized medicine will fundamentally alter the competitive landscape, changing the bargaining power of small and big drug companies and forcing firms to reassess traditional sources of competitive advantage.
Globalization: Similar to personalized medicine, globalization is radically altering the traditional competitive advantages of pharma and biotech companies. While the initial focus has been to lower drug development costs, these financial gains will be temporary, according to the report. The real opportunity is for western companies to work with partners in emerging markets to develop innovative products suited specifically for local market conditions.
Key regional findings
- Asia-Pacific biotechnology industry revenues grew by 21% and net loss declined by 98%, causing the industry to essentially break even. The strong performance was driven by the Australian sector, where the larges t firm, CSL, had a very strong year.
- There was a marked increase in IPOs, which brought in more than US$750 million. Eight companies went public in Australia and five Chinese companies listed on US exchanges.
- Revenues of public biotechnology companies in the US rose over 11% from US$58.6 billion in 2006 to US$65.2 billion in 2007.
- The US industry’s aggregate net loss was under US$300 million – less than 0.5% of revenues and the closest it has come to overall profitability in its history.
- The US industry raised an all-time high of US$5.5 billion in venture capital, about US$2 billion more than the previous record.
- Approvals by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for both pharmaceuticals and biologics slid precipitously in 2007, with the lowest number of new molecular entity (NME) approvals in over two decades.
- The European industry’s revenues declined in 2007 because of the loss of publicly listed biotech giant Serono, which was acquired by Merck KGaA. Without this acquisition, public companies revenue growth would have been 20%. After years of lackluster growth, the European sector is sustaining robust financial performance.
- The industry raised a total of €5.5 billion, an increase of 18% from €4.6 billion in 2006.
- The number of products in the clinical pipeline – including those in preclinical and clinical development – increased by 9%, climbing to 1,712 in 2007 from 1,576 in 2006
About Ernst & Young’s Global Biotechnology Center
Today’s rapidly changing biotechnology industry is delivering new levels of health, prosperity and sustainability. But it is also facing unprecedented challenges. Ernst & Young’s Global Biotechnology Center brings together a worldwide team of professionals to help you achieve your potential – a team with deep technical experience in providing assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The Center works to anticipate market trends, identify the implications and develop points of view on relevant industry issues. Ultimately it enables us to help you meet your goals and compete more effectively. It’s how Ernst & Young makes a difference.
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