Today’s Most Promising Therapeutic Areas for Dealmaking


In this Pharmaceutical Commerce video interview, Joerg Tritschler, a partner in Simon-Kucher’s life sciences division, discusses the hottest therapeutic settings for dealmaking activity at the moment—and one platform approach in particular poised to be at the center of future M&A and licensing pursuits.

PC: Which therapeutics settings, or technology/platform areas, are you seeing the most M&A and partnering activity at the moment?

Tritschler: There are several therapeutic areas and technology platforms where we’ve seen a very strong focus in 2023 and the first few months of this year. In terms of TA, oncology is still, by far, ahead regarding deal volumes compared to all the other therapeutic areas. But then we see neurology and cardiology also being very relevant at the moment. When it comes to more of the individual technologies, I think it's very obvious that ADCs (antibody-drug conjugates) are the hottest topic in the industry at the moment, especially looking at the rise in licensing-deal volume that we've seen in the last year. In 2023, the ADC licensing-deal volume was $43 billion alone. When you look at it over time, [volume] has increased in the last few years by 350%. So, from a clinical as well as deal perspective, this is the hottest topic in the industry.

There’s also cell and gene therapies. [These products] have actually declined in deal value, and not just in 2023; it started beforehand with many gene therapies, in the end, not making it to the market. There’s just a handful of companies and assets that we have seen in the market; therefore, with the higher aversion to risk, we’ve seen investors pulling out a little bit from that area. But cell and gene therapies are still very relevant for the future. We see many promising approaches, such as CRISPR, and dealmaking in this area is still active, just not as big as it used to be in [recent] years.

PC: What are some emerging or hot areas for dealmaking in the future?

Tritschler: When we look at the next big thing in the industry, one of them could be radioligand therapy (RLT)—as a contender to that title. We currently see Novartis putting its bets on RLT instead of ADCs. We also see other companies going into the RLT area, such as Eli Lilly, and others investing in this new therapeutic platform. The future will bring a lot of changes in this area.

For more on the changing trends in biopharma dealmaking, read our industry outlook analysis here.

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