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  • Writer's pictureJohn Q Leonard

The Big Pharma Angle on Biotech Investing in 2023

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

Biotech investing has long been considered a high-risk, high-reward proposition, with investors willing to put their money on the line for the chance to back the next big thing in life science innovation. However, the emergence of COVID-19 has further accelerated the pace of biotech investment, with more and more companies rushing to develop new drugs, therapies, and medical devices to meet the needs of a rapidly changing healthcare landscape.

One recent example of this trend is the $750 million commitment made by Sanofi to its venture capital unit, Sanofi Ventures. This significant investment will enable the VC fund to build on its successful track record of backing early-stage biotech companies and marks a new phase in the French drugmaker’s relationship with biotech investing.

Sanofi Ventures has been an established player in the biotech VC space for many years, with a portfolio that includes notable companies such as bluebird bio and Ultragenyx. However, the fund has largely operated in the shadows, without publicly disclosing the details of how it supports the companies it invests in. The recent $750 million commitment changes that, signaling Sanofi’s accelerated ambitions in the venture capital community and its continued desire to collaborate with global innovators in the best interests of patients.

Companies that take up the offer of investment from Sanofi Ventures receive cash, plus the promise of access to Sanofi’s expertise in areas including preclinical and clinical development, regulatory, manufacturing, and market access. This additional support can be invaluable to early-stage companies, which often lack the resources and expertise to navigate the complex and highly regulated world of biotech innovation.

Sanofi Ventures’ recent investments in companies such as streptococcus vaccine developer Minervax, immune disease startup Matchpoint Therapeutics, and neurosensory-inflammatory player Escient Pharmaceuticals, as well as its co-leading investment in immuno-oncology startup NextPoint Therapeutics, demonstrate the fund’s continued commitment to backing companies with transformative science and digital innovation.

Looking to the future, the biotech investment landscape is likely to continue to evolve rapidly, as the COVID-19 pandemic drives greater investment in life science innovation. This trend is likely to be further accelerated by the emergence of new technologies such as gene editing, synthetic biology, and digital therapeutics, which are opening up new avenues for medical research and development.

In this context, biotech investors will need to be increasingly agile and adaptable, with the ability to identify and capitalize on emerging trends and technologies. Those who are able to do so will be well-positioned to reap the rewards of this rapidly evolving industry, while helping to drive forward the next generation of life-changing medical treatments and technologies.

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