A Real Economy publication

Life sciences industry outlook

Jul 10, 2024

Key takeaways

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Funding remains a challenge in the biopharma space.

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Diagnostics, a key medtech subsector, faces hurdles as a result of new FDA regulations.

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Clinical trials are increasingly global, with China leading growth in clinical research participation.

Life sciences trend #1: Navigating opportunities in a sluggish biopharma IPO and M&A landscape

In the latest Life Sciences industry outlook, RSM examines the current biopharma landscape, highlighting significant challenges and opportunities. One thing is certain: Funding remains a critical issue within the sector. While public markets have shown some signs of activity, the volume of transactions has been notably lower than anticipated. This sluggishness is attributed to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and an approaching patent cliff, both of which are expected to impact revenue streams. However, these factors may also spur an increase in licensing deals and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as companies seek new strategies to maintain growth and innovation in a challenging market environment. The report emphasizes the need for biopharma companies to navigate these complexities with agility and foresight to capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Life sciences trend #2: Medtech faces hurdles ranging from biopharma capital limits to regulation

The medtech industry is poised to encounter significant challenges that could potentially constrain its growth trajectory in the coming months, including capital limitations within the biopharma sector curtailing medical device growth, troublesome surgical indicators and new regulations. By anticipating the potential hurdles and strategizing accordingly, medtech companies can mitigate the effects of these various headwinds and harness opportunities for innovation and growth.

Life sciences trend #3: CROs: Rekindling relationships with small to midsize biotechs

Life sciences stocks struggled due to inflation and increased lending rates until late 2023 when they rebounded slightly, though still lagging behind the S&P 500. The Federal Reserve's indication of potential rate cuts may signal a turnaround for life sciences equity valuations, with an expected increase of 15% to 20% through 2024, favoring companies with strong pipelines or proven success. Amid this, clinical research organizations (CROs) are advised to refocus on small to midsize biotechs for renewed opportunities in funding. Globally, clinical trials are increasingly distributed across countries, with Asia experiencing significant growth in clinical trial sites, while Europe has seen a decline, presenting challenges for middle-market CROs in navigating compliance, regulatory, and financial reporting requirements across diverse jurisdictions.

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