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Phase III Assets in High Demand - Results from the Business Forum Meeting Activity

June 20, 2012
At the BIO International Convention in Boston today, we released our results from the Business Forum meeting activity. This analysis provides a real-time snapshot of what in-licensors from pharma and biotech are looking for here at the conference.

The Business Forum hit over 25,000 scheduled One-on-One Partnering™ meetings on Monday afternoon.  This is 18% more meetings than last year, and more than double the meetings held back in 2007, when we last held this event in Boston. The BIO Business Forum is the largest partnering event in the world across all industries.  Thus, it is a rich dataset to mine and analyze to get a picture of what is trending behind the scenes in today’s deal- making landscape.

Generating this year’s 25,000 meetings are 2,900 companies and the over 5,000 BD professionals and senior executives scheduling and attending these partnering meetings.

We looked into the meetings scheduled through our software platform and isolated only meetings between in-licensors and out-licensors for therapeutic compounds.  Of the 2,900 companies in the Business Forum, about a third qualify as true drug R&D companies – either pharma or biotech with an innovative pipeline.  This particular analysis explores only those meetings, and does not look at the meetings involving service providers, diagnostics and other industry segments that also utilize partnering.

When we subdivide the pool of 962 R&D companies into out-licensors and in-licensors, we see an 80/20 split. The pool of 196 in-licensors extends beyond the traditional big pharmas, to mid-size biotechs that specifically state they attend the conference to scout for in-licensing opportunities and many international spec pharma and mid-size pharma groups.  On the out-licensing side we count 776 biotech companies.

When we categorize those 776 biotechs by the stage of development of their lead, unpartnered, asset, we find that over 50% of these companies are early-stage biotechs in pre-clinical or Phase I development – fertile ground for in-licensors seeking to find innovative therapies.  This is a slight increase over last year’s percentage of early-stage companies , but again shows that this event is rich with young start-up companies seeking partners.  Almost 30% of companies have a lead, unpartnered asset in Phase II, and only a handful of lead compounds are in Phase III or at the commercial level without a partner.

This year, companies with the furthest along unpartnered assets are holding the most meetings with in-licensors.  Companies with Phase III unpartnered assets have the most meetings per company, followed by Phase II, Phase I and then preclinical/research companies.  Although it may seem intuitive, the most de-risked assets have not translated into more meetings with in-licensors in the past; last year companies with Phase II unpartnered assets held the most meetings with big biopharma in-licensors.

When we splice the meetings by therapeutic area instead of phase, respiratory and immunology assets are in the highest demand this year.  In 2011, companies with unpartnered CNS assets received the most in-licensor interest, but these companies only hit the average level of in-licensor meetings this year.

When we analyze pipeline stage together with therapeutic area, a bit more granular account of in-licensors’ intentions appears.  Phase III assets in the highest demand are those for respiratory, GI, and dermatology indications.  Immunology is the most in-demand Phase II asset. In 2011, GI Phase II assets were in the highest overall demand, followed by Phase II assets in the metabolic and CNS spaces.

The slideshow presentation from the session is attached here.