In 2018, the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index spiked 15%, only to lose its gains in the fourth quarter of the year, resulting in a year-end decline of 9%, while the Dow Jones Pharma and Biotech index remained flat. In contrast, the S&P Pharmaceuticals Index grew 5%.

The Japan Index had grown 17% by the end of September 2018, but fell 18% in the fourth quarter. This is largely due to Takeda and its unpopular takeover of Shire for $64 billion, which led to a year-end share price decline of 42%. The acquisition led to a $6 billion gain for Shire. Takeda lost $20 billion in value, an overall poor performance that was nominally worse than that of Bayer, which has also faced losses over its likewise unpopular acquisition of Monsanto.

Thanks to large funding rounds, drug developers fundraised approximately $17 billion globally in 2018, an increase of 29%, even with the number of financings dropping to record low numbers over the past 10 years. However, experts do not expect the massive gains of 2018 to be repeated, leaving the extent of the slowdown in 2019 unknown. Companies with the highest venture rounds in 2018 included Moderna Therapeutics at $500 million, Samumed with $438 million and Relay Therapeutics with $400 million. The biotech IPO market hit a record high in 2018, reaching $7.23 billion, with the average amount raised surpassing $100 million for the first time.

Also in 2018, the US FDA approved 62 novel drugs, a new record for the Administration, with the medicines estimated to generate $24 billion in sales by 2023. The newly approved drugs include a completely new class of migraine drugs with Aimovig, Emgality and Ajovy, as well as 17 cancer drugs, including 6 for hematological cancers, and the very first RNAi therapeutic with Alnylam’s Onpattro. There was also a nominal reduction in average approval times to 10.6 months, largely due to faster standard review cycles and slightly slowed priority reviews.

Source: Evaluate

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