IQVIA Pharma Deals
Review of 2019
White Paper
Mar 06, 2020

The IQVIA Pharma Deals Review of 2019 provides an insightful overview of deal activity in 2019, as well as an outlook for 2020. Key information provided includes the following:

  • Top M&A and partnership deals of 2019
  • Deal activity rankings of the top pharmaceutical companies
  • Therapeutic area and development phase deal activity
  • Deal value analysis of M&A, licensing and R&D deals


Key Highlights

  • Deal activity in the life sciences sector continued to slow in 2019 accompanied by a falloff in venture funding after a record-breaking year in 2018.
  • Overall licensing activity was constrained but appetite for therapeutic licensing deals drove upfront payments and deal values upwards.

Although deal activity in the life sciences sector slowed across the board in 2019 in terms of transaction volume, M&A and partnering deal values rose on average. In what appears to be a strong year for M&A, US$293 B was committed on acquisitions in 2019, up 43% on 2018, boosted by the Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS)/Celgene and AbbVie/Allergan megamergers.

The financing climate for biotech companies cooled slightly after a record-breaking 2018, although capital was still plentiful, and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index finished the year on the up. Overall licensing activity was notably constrained, although there was still appreciable appetite for therapeutic licensing deals, driving upfront payments and deal values upwards.

Novartis was the leading pharmaceutical dealmaker in terms of deal volume, while BMS led the way in terms of deal spend. Gilead Sciences’ pipeline-accessing deal with Galapagos broke records in 2019 with its unprecedented US$5.95 B cash and equity upfront consideration but it was by no means the only deal to be signed in 2019 involving a sky-high licensing fee.

In terms of deal volume, oncology remained the leading therapeutic area for partnering deals, although CNS assets attracted noteworthy deal investment. Many billions of biodollars were committed as part of collaborative R&D alliances in 2019, but partnering companies were also willing to pay larger sums upfront to secure these deals.


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