Boston Herald: Massachusetts biopharma companies’ venture capital investment jumped 70% in 2021: report

Jan 28, 2022

By Amy Sokolow

Originally published by the Boston Herald on January 27, 2022

A new report from MassBio paints a rosy picture of the state’s biopharma prospects — including a year-over-year increase in venture capital funding of 70% from 2020 to 2021.

“Record-breaking venture capital (coming) to Massachusetts companies is really a result of our decades of leadership and success,” said Joe Boncore, CEO of MassBio.

“We’ve seen companies launching every week as a result of our cluster that’s kind of a unique combination: here we have world-class universities, academic medical centers and talent,” Boncore continued.

Not only did the Bay State see a huge jump in biopharma investment to the tune of $13.66 billion, it also received a bigger slice of the pie overall: 36% of all U.S. biopharma venture funding went to Massachusetts-based biopharma companies — up from 29% in 2020.

In total, 236 companies received 253 rounds of investment last year, with the average amount raised per round at $53.9 million. Cambridge’s ElevateBio received the biggest chunk at $525 million in a Series C round.

Boncore, who recently joined MassBio after a stint in the state Senate, chalked some of that growth to the worldwide attention Massachusetts received after it led the way developing several COVID-19 vaccines.

“For the first time in about 100 years, everyone had an unmet medical need, and they turned to Massachusetts to get the quickest vaccine to market in mankind,” he said. “People are, I think, appreciative of what this industry can do to change patients’ lives.”

Additionally, 42% of Massachusetts-based biopharma companies that received venture capital funding were located outside of Cambridge, including 17% in Boston, 8% in Waltham and 7% in Watertown, signaling the need for both more lab space and more talent to fill the growing need for roles.

“The Baker-Polito Administration has long recognized the importance of the Commonwealth’s thriving life sciences sector, signing significant investments into law in 2018, and working since then to provide funding to support infrastructure and workforce needs that sustain Massachusetts’ national leadership in this area,” Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy said in a statement on the report.

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