Biotech CEO confidence returns, but deal landscape still seen as bleak

A small snapshot survey of biotech chiefs during the second quarter has shown that their confidence to be able to raise funds has doubled since Q1, but they are a little shakier on deals and partnerships.

The report, coming out from Kineticos--in partnership with Ipsos Healthcare and Demy-Colton--asked 51 biotech CEOs across small and large cap companies how healthy their sector felt in Q2 when compared to the previous quarter.

The answer sheet came back positive on the money side, with CEOs marking the “very confident” box when it came to raising capital in the public market, jumping from a lowly 18% marking the same box in Q1 to a healthier 39% three months later.

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And 98% of CEOs said they are either “very confident” (53%) or “somewhat confident” (45%) in their companies and the overall industry.

While deal values and deal competition remained stable, those labeling the overall deal landscape as “good” declined for a third straight quarter (45% in Q1 to 35% in Q2).

When it comes to the regulatory side of things, confidence is slowly rising, although it could only really go up after only 22% of surveyed CEOs said back in Q1 that they were “very confident” in the regulatory environment. In the second quarter, this had edged up to 31%.

On top of this, 75% said they expect the frequency in FDA approvals over the next 18-month period to remain stable.

But when it comes to CEOs planning to partner externally, Q2 saw a decrease in confidence (70% to 65%)--although this remains significantly higher than those planning to market their meds on their own (just 12%).

What’s the biggest threat to biotech’s future? Unsurprisingly, more than half (57%) of chiefs asked said the largest risk to their business remains getting enough money in to keep going, and comes after several biotechs such as the Cambridge, MA-based cancer company Bind have filed for bankruptcy in the past quarter.

This concern was much higher than the risk of poor clinical results, which was the biggest concern for only 14%.

When asked about the Q2 results, Steve Girling, president of Ipsos Healthcare said: “After a year of surveying biotech CEOs who are leading development stage companies, we've found that early exuberance about the flow of available funds has been replaced by a broader confidence in the potential to bring new assets to market.

“The upcoming U.S. election is likely to have a material impact on the industry, so it will be fascinating to see whether, and how quickly this influences CEO confidence.”

- check out the survey

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