Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: The Definitive Rundown on New England Biotech

5/23/08Follow @gthuang

It’s official: 2007 rocked for New England biotech. Whether you look at IPOs, mergers, or venture activity, the region is consistently among the nation’s leaders. And on a per capita basis, it might even be unsurpassed.

Such was the word (except for the per capita bit, which we added) this week from Ernst & Young’s 22nd annual Beyond Borders: Global Biotechnology Report. While the region’s standing is probably no surprise, the report (put together by E&Y’s Global Biotechnology Center, based right here in Boston) offers a comprehensive view to back up the perception, by providing one of the most definitive assessments of the state of the union in biotech.

So how exactly did our fair region’s companies fare? Here’s a 30,000-foot overview. As of the end of 2007, there were 62 public biotech companies in New England with a total market capitalization of $65.2 billion—second only to the San Francisco Bay Area (77 public companies, $148.6 billion). Total revenues were up 17 percent over 2006 to $11.4 billion—again second only to the Bay Area ($22.1 billion)—with net losses down 44 percent to $755 million.

A quick rundown of other vital stats:

—The total amount of capital raised in New England was $4 billion, second only to Los Angeles/Orange County ($5.5 billion) and greater than the Bay Area ($3.6 billion). Of that, roughly a quarter, or $1.1 billion, was contributed by venture capital firms. Again, this was second only (and barely) to the Bay Area ($1.3 billion of VC—see a pattern yet?).

—Out of 22 U.S. biotech IPOs in 2007, six of them were New England firms:

Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:MIPI) ($70 million raised)
Synta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SNTA) ($50 million)
Biodel (NASDAQ:BIOD) ($86 million)
Helicos BioSciences (NASDAQ:HLCS) ($49 million)
Sirtris Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SIRT) ($69 million)
Targanta Therapeutics (NASDAQ:TARG) ($58 million)

—There were five notable biotech M&As involving regional firms:

Inverness Medical Innovations acquired San Diego-based Biosite ($1.48 billion)
Bristol-Myers Squibb bought Adnexus Therapeutics of Waltham, MA ($505 million)
Marlborough, MA-based Cytyc acquired the Bay Area’s Adeza ($452 million)
Genzyme bought New York-based Bioenvision ($345 million)
Cubist Pharmaceuticals of Lexington, MA acquired the Pacific Northwest’s Illumigen Biosciences ($341million)

—Four of the top eight strategic alliances involving U.S. biotech firms were directly tied to New England—all deals worth at least $1 billion:

Adnexus and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($1.29 billion)
ARIAD Pharmaceuticals and Merck & Co. ($1.13 billion)
Synta and GlaxoSmithKline ($1.01 billion)
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Roche ($1.0 billion)

—And lastly, there were several smaller but notable alliances forged locally as well (all in Cambridge, MA):

TolerRx and GlaxoSmithKline ($760 million)
Archemix and Merck-Serono ($611 million)
Radius Health and Novartis ($500 million)

So raise a glass to 2007 once again—and let’s see what the rest of 2008 brings.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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