MassBio CEO and President Kendalle Burlin O’Connell offered her thoughts to GBR as they prepared their USA Life Sciences 2023 report, released earlier this year. The interview was conducted in February 2023 and provided a lookback at 2022 and a preview of the year ahead.
In this print and digital publication, Global Business Reports offers analysis derived from over 80 interviews with the industry’s most insightful, thought-provoking, and authoritative executives across the life sciences value chain, spanning 19 US states, and with firms from three continents with large footprints in America. Importantly, the report features GBR’s assessment of the trends that are likely to drive the industry in the coming months.
From “The Investment Climate: Picking ripe apples: a sweet spot for M&As” editorial:
Early-stage firms seeking investment will have to face increased due diligence from VCs after the “sugar high” experienced in 2020-2021, when several companies went public too soon and without a well-thought-out strategy. Today these firms must focus on finding partners to develop their assets or find them a different home. This makes life harder for pre-revenue life sciences firms that do not yet have clinical data. Christina Bardon, co-managing partner at MPM | BioImpact Capital explained: “In 2020, several companies invested in platforms without necessarily paying attention to reaching clinical milestones. Investors are now more parsimonious and looking for clinical-stage assets and tangible value creation. 2023 is a time to focus on clinical data.”
With unique access to the biotech ecosystem in Massachusetts, Kendalle O’Connell, CEO and president at MassBio, shared investors’ analysis: “Companies will have to be able to give more clinical data to investors to create confidence in their ideas and raise funding in future rounds.”
From “The East and the West: Healthy competition driving progress” editorial:
Massachusetts, home to 18 of the 20 largest global pharma firms, again ranked as a top place among life sciences regions globally in 2022. For the past 15 years, the work done by pharma firms, state authorities, and non-profits to develop the industry has been nothing short of outstanding. Since passing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative in 2008, biopharma employment has almost doubled in the state, with a 96.5% total growth. Surfing on that trend, employment grew by 13% in 2022, with the life sciences industry now employing over 106,000 people. Pharma giants Takeda, Sanofi and Pfizer were the top three employers in the state in 2022, according to figures from MassBio.
Firms in Massachusetts have R&D running through their veins, and this will likely remain what pumps capital into their ventures in the year ahead. The state remains the top NIH-funded state per capita, with US$3.3 billion, while firms in the Boston area received 26% of all VC investment nationally. Massachusetts headquartered firms make up 16% of the US drug development pipeline. Newly promoted MassBio CEO and president Kendalle O’Connell detailed the state’s growth path: “We have seen unprecedented levels of venture capital investment coming into Massachusetts headquartered companies, with nearly US$9 billion of VC investment in 2022 and US$13.6 billion in 2021. In 2022, lab and manufacturing space in Massachusetts totaled approximately 55 million square feet, with 15 million square feet coming online in 2021 alone.”