Devices & Diagnostics, BioPharma

PwC Report: Biotech beating medtech hollow in venture capital – but devices have hope in public markets

The vast majority of life sciences venture capital went to biotechnology, a PricewaterhouseCoopers report finds.

Yet another report’s pointing out biotech’s bullish venture appeal – and how medical device investment continues to flag.

In fact, biotechnology funding for human therapeutics is so strong that its venture funding outpaces pharmaceuticals sevenfold, a PricewaterhouseCoopers venture analysis of the first quarter of 2015 life sciences sector found.

It reported 193 deals worth a cumulative $2.2 billion. This is up from a total 186 life sciences deals in the Q1 2014, which were worth $1.6 billion.

Sponsored Post

Physician Targeting Using Real-time Data: How PurpleLab’s Alerts Can Help

By leveraging real-time data that offers unprecedented insights into physician behavior and patient outcomes, companies can gain a competitive advantage with prescribers. PurpleLab®, a healthcare analytics platform with one of the largest medical and pharmaceutical claims databases in the United States, recently announced the launch of Alerts which translates complex information into actionable insights, empowering companies to identify the right physicians to target, determine the most effective marketing strategies and ultimately improve patient care.

This means that biotechnology investment has grown 66 percent over Q1 2014 – but that medical devices have declined by 21 percent.

When you compare Q1 2015 to Q4 2014, however, investment dropped 14 percent for biotech and 30 percent for medical devices.

First quarter investment is traditionally low, however, compared to ensuing reporting periods, said Greg Vlahos, a life sciences partner at PwC.

Average life science deal size remains fairly robust – while it’s lower than Q2 and Q4 in 2014, it remains at a healthy $11.4 million. Here’s a chart:

Some notable subsector breakdowns for Q1 2015, in order of funding:

  • Biotech human – $1.35 billion
  • Medical device therapeutics – $258 million
  • Pharmaceuticals – $212 million
  • Medical diagnostics – $107 million
  • Medical/health products – $104 million
  • Biotech research – $73 million
  • Biotech animal – $35 million
  • Biotech industrial – $27 million
  • Biosensors – $20 million
  • Biotech equipment – $11 million

Early stage deals accounted for the majority of funding – $1.26 billion into 106 deals – and $941 million was invested into 87 late stage deals.

There’s hope yet for medical device companies – if they continue to find exits in the public markets.

“We are seeing medtech pick up in terms of liquidity in the public markets,” Vlahos said. “As companies get more liquid, where we saw venture money going to later stage med tech companies in the past, those dollars won’t have to flow to them anymore.”

Public market investors are looking for medtechs with multiple product lines and with revenues more than $100 million, Vlahos said, unlike biotechs which typically enter the public markets around Phase II or Phase III of clinical testing.

Also notable: thanks to medical devices, the Bay Area beat out Boston in life sciences funding – just incrementally.