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Beyond borders: EY Biotechnology report 2022 databook

As biotech prepares to navigate uncharted waters, the sector's financing and financial performance data tells a story of resilience.




Financial performance

















Select US and European biotech M&As, 2021




This chart shows select US and European biotech M&As in 2021.

  • As described in our companion EY Firepower 2022 report, 2021 biopharma M&A was a volume story, with smaller bolt-on transactions dominating the market. While the number of M&As with announced deal values (57 in 2021) reached its highest point for at least 15 years, the total value of those deals (US$65.9 billion) dropped for the second consecutive year, and reached its lowest level since 2017, down from  US$164.3 billion in 2019 and US$119.2 billion in 2020.

  • The average deal size in 2021 was US$1.2 billion, lower than the average of US$1.8 billion over the previous 15 years. The largest M&A deal of 2021, Merck & Company’s US$11.5 billion acquisition of Acceleron’s late-stage rare disease candidate sotatercept, was dwarfed by the big transactions of recent years, such as Bristol Myers Squibb’s US$74 billion purchase of Celgene or the AstraZeneca-Alexion (US$39 billion) and Takeda-Shire (US$62 billion) deals. Other notable transactions of the year included Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ move to acquire GW Pharmaceuticals and its Epidiolex product (the first marijuana-derived drug approved in the US), Horizon Therapeutics’ acquisition of AstraZeneca spin-out Viela Bio, and Sanofi’s purchase of Translate Bio and its mRNA technology platform. Pfizer followed up its deal with Arena Pharmaceuticals and its Phase III inflammatory bowel disease treatment etrasimod with a US$11.6 billion acquisition of Biohaven Therapeutics in Q1 2022. Biohaven’s therapies focus on debilitating neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases.

  • High valuations ensured that biotech remained essentially a seller’s market in 2021. The drastic correction in biotech stock markets may change this dynamic substantially in 2022. However, in the first quarter, there was no sign of an M&A resurgence in the sector, with only eight deals of US$100 million or more completed, generating just US$4.9 billion. If that trend continues, 2022 would be the lowest M&A value year since 2010; however, the industry’s need to secure access to innovations and the falling valuations of biotechs may converge to reinvigorate dealmaking over the remainder of 2022. 









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