Biotechnology sector optimistic. More investments planned. Business climate remains positive
For the first time in years, the stock market is a financing alternative once again for German biotechnology firms. Companies raised €403 million in private equity in 2014 – around 14 per cent more than in the previous year. Research and development are also benefiting from this, and it is likely that companies’ investments in this area will increase significantly this year. These were the findings of a survey by the biotechnology industry association, BIO Deutschland, in cooperation with the sector magazine |transkript. The survey findings are being presented at a press conference in Berlin today.
The survey showed general optimism in the sector. All of the indicators were higher than the averages of the past five years. In comparison with the previous year, however, the respondents’ assessment of the current business and political situation is not quite as positive. Respondents of the previous survey had high hopes of the new Federal Government, which has apparently not lived up to expectations. Nevertheless, biotech entrepreneurs regard their current situation so positively that they want to start investing more in research and development once again. Development also remained stable in the employment situation.
The findings are backed up by research by BIO Deutschland and |transkript, which is published by BIOCOM AG. According to this research, equity capital investments rose by around 14 per cent in 2014 compared with 2013, reaching €403 million – the highest level since 2010. For the first time in years, German biotechnology companies also ventured on to the stock exchange, albeit far from the domestic market. Two companies chose the United States, while another company floated on the Amsterdam stock exchange. No biotech company has issued an initial public offering in Frankfurt since 2007. At the same time, many biotech companies already listed there have acquired significant sums, while a large number of shareholders have enjoyed good returns on their biotech investments. Deutsche Börse’s Biotech Sub-sector Index rose by around 24 per cent over the course of the year.
The overall positive development in Germany reflects an upswing also found on the European capital market. According to a study by BIOCOM AG, European biotech firms acquired a total of €2.37 billion via the stock market, compared with €1.89 billion in 2013. This equates to growth of 25 per cent compared with the previous year. The number of biotech flotations tripled to fifteen.
Peter Heinrich, Chairman of the Board of BIO Deutschland, summed up the situation as follows: “The German biotech sector is benefiting from the international biotech boom. However, sufficient financing and the promotion of innovative small and medium-sized enterprises both remain problematic in Germany, as is also shown by the survey respondents’ less than positive assessment of the political situation.”
Holger Zimmermann, Managing Director and CSO of AiCuris said: “Biotechnology plays a major role in driving innovations, particularly in the health economy. This was also shown by the large number of takeovers and collaborations in 2014. It is important that the entire value-added chain, from invention to patients, works well and reliably and that factors blocking innovations are removed.”
Boris Mannhardt, CEO of BIOCOM AG added: “The positive trend on European stock exchanges shows that that biotechnology is clearly a worthwhile investment once again. However, the stock exchanges in Paris and London seem far more attractive to many biotech companies than the stock exchange in Frankfurt.”
The individual index values were as follows:
- Current business situation: -1.66 points to 97.47 points (of 99.13 points)
- R&D investment index: +1.97 points to 95.02 points (of 93.05 points)
- Employment index: -0.8 points to 94.52 points (of 95.32 points)
- Current political parameters: -1.65 points to 95.66 points (of 97.31 points)
- Future political parameters: -0.26 points to 88.39 points (of 88.65 points)
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You can see the findings of the company survey and graphics at www.biodeutschland.org/firmenumfrage-2014-2015.html