In Case You Missed It: PULSE Webinar – Life Science M&A: Supporting the Next Generation of Biopharma Breakthroughs  

Dec 12, 2023 | Blog Post

To view the full event recording, click here.  

Across the life sciences industry, companies engage in a constant “relay race” to bring new and groundbreaking treatments to market. The critical partnerships and “hand-offs” between companies of all sizes are core components of the drug development process, a dynamic flow that has become even more vital for patients and the health system.  

In a recent PULSE webinar, top experts from across the U.S. life sciences ecosystem highlighted the unique importance of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in bringing new biopharmaceutical breakthroughs to market. The panelists broke down the complex path to market for new treatments and cures, and how M&A is critical in allowing companies of all sizes to combine the necessary resources and expertise to advance these innovations.

Highlights from the discussion are included below: 

  1. The complex, unique process of developing new medicines is like a relay race – companies often cannot go it alone. M&A allows companies to “pass the baton” and bring new breakthroughs to patients.  

“Drug development [is] a relay race because no one entity does it all. And this is why mergers and acquisitions are going to be so critically important.” 

– John Stanford, Executive Director, Incubate Coalition 

  1. Bringing a new medicine to market is a long and arduous journey for companies, who depend on M&A to secure the resources and investment necessary to advance their innovations.  

“This is a decade-long process, to go from the discovery of a molecule to commercialization and it being available to prescribe to patients…There’s really not a lot of options for these young companies, other than to take large risks and to know that there is someone waiting for you to hand that baton off to.” 

– Tyler Morris, Director of Capital Investment, Biocom California 

  1. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has historically recognized the unique dynamics of the life sciences ecosystem. Current M&A policy already carefully balances innovation and competition, and a heightened approach would disrupt this balance.  

“In the past, the [FTC] been terrific about…taking a look and seeing when something is not a competitive problem, and then getting out of the way…We all understand, particularly those who work in this space, the importance of not standing in the way of innovation and development.” 

– Mary Lehner, Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 

  1. The FTC’s revised approach to M&A represents a drastic shift in the agency’s approach to M&A, with a particular impact on the life sciences ecosystem. 

 “These new merger guidelines suggest a dramatic break with four decades of U.S. antitrust policy, and clearly reflect a desire among leadership at the agencies to reign in merger activity…Many of these proposals could have a particular impact in the life sciences industry.”  

– Robert Kulick, Director, NERA Economic Consulting (Moderator) 

As panelists highlighted in their closing remarks, policies that obstruct pro-innovation M&A in the life sciences will ultimately keep new therapies and cures from reaching patients. Policymakers at the FTC, DOJ and beyond must keep this in mind, and preserve a balanced approach to M&A that maintains this vital conduit for bringing new life-changing therapies to those who need them.