How scaling biotechs can navigate a bear market

Here are four opportunities to grow in the face of economic uncertainty

With companies bracing for a mild or moderate recession, central banks increasing interest rates to rein in inflation, and the war in Ukraine adding fuel to the fire, biotech companies, especially those that are scaling, face myriad challenges after a period of incredibly high interest in the sector, including record venture capital investment and a record number of initial public offerings (IPOs).

The industry is insulated, in part, by venture capital (VC) funding that is still higher than it was at pre-pandemic levels, in addition to a positive long-term outlook. While there has been some pullback in VC activity in the sector, the year-to-date VC totals for 2022 already exceed 2019 levels.

“There is some cash conservation among biotech and pharma start-ups, and we anticipate company formation will slow as VCs focus on late-stage investments – both of which will bring demand back to normalized levels,” says Amber Schiada, Head of Americas Work Dynamics Research, JLL. “There is still solid demand and expansionary activity to take up the overhang, and VC is still very healthy.”

As companies look to cash preservation strategies, there are a plethora of opportunities to implement complex and creative strategies that mitigate these economic stressors, from subleasing already-built lab space to partnering with contract research organizations (CROs).

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