A week ago, panelists at an ambitious program mounted by the Boston Bar Association took a broad look at major trends in life science deals and risks. Some interesting highlights follow.
Did COVID hurt or help life science dealmaking? Both; people became more accessible via Zoom, but the lack of personal contact impeded ability to benefit from establishing personal rapport and trust. Bottom line, deal flow did not slow down though deals were harder to make.
Lack of scientific conferences hurt. Ability to discuss presentations with companies impeded recognition of deal synergy.
Obvious intense interest in bio-tech drew capital, but also fear of regulation of drug profits and of FDA regulation and of heightened anti-trust focus dampened interest in the eyes of some. So did “frothy” price premiums being sought during a “hot” market. Some of the froth came from VCs raising larger funds, as well as SPAC interest (see immediately prior post).
Near the end of program, a deeper visit to SPAC-land. Life science SPACs were said to be a small percentage of SPAC activity. 75% of all life science SPACs are today trading within 5% up or down from issuance price. It was suggested that the best SPAC promoters are serial sponsors because they have a list of reliable investors.
Interesting technical discussion of how to frame patent claims, particularly with the tension between maximizing patent protection today with specific claims vs. seeking protection over time in face of rapid innovation. Patents are written today, examined in three years, litigated in ten years. Do you articulate your claims narrowly or reach for protection by making functional claims?