More Deals and higher Volumes in the European Life Sciences Sector

  • Transaction volume exceeds the EUR 13bn watermark of 2021
  • Another increase for 2022 can be expected

Munich, February 14th, 2022 – The number of investments in the European life sciences sector rose in 2021 up to a five-year high. Over the last year, the transaction volume increased from EUR 8bn to EUR 13.9bn. It corresponds to a surplus of 73 percent compared to 2020. This can be seen from the life sciences venture capital report, published by the financing specialist FCF Fox Corporate Finance, which is based in Munich. “The higher number of transactions and the on average larger volume of single transactions lead to that steep increase,” according to Dr. Mathias Schott, director of the FCF Life Sciences department. For the current year of 2022 FCF expects another increase in the overall transaction volume.

The number of transactions increased from EUR 849m to EUR 1,069m in Europe last year, and the volume of deals rose from an average of EUR 9.5m to EUR 13m. According to Dr. Schott, the “overall remarkable growth,” is also due to the number of deals with a volume of more than EUR 100m: While there were only eleven transactions in 2020, last year 28 deals had a volume of more than EUR 100m.

At a country level, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands were the nations in Europe with the highest transaction volumes. For example, the transaction volume for the United Kingdom grew by 142 percent from 2.5 to EUR 6.1bn. In France, the volume climbed by 54 percent to EUR 1.6bn, in Germany by 26 percent to EUR 1.3bn, and in the Netherlands by as much as 65 percent to EUR 841m. “Germany shows weaker growth compared to the aforementioned peer group,” said Dr. Schott. Only in Switzerland did the transaction volume fall by 19 percent to EUR 880m.

The largest European deal in 2021 was the financing of CMR Surgical with a volume of EUR 497m. Although this transaction was smaller than the CureVac deal from 2020 with EUR 560m, overall, the ten biggest deals in 2021 had an average volume that was EUR 25m larger. “This then also led to the jump in transaction volume,” explains FCF Director Schott. Deals in the EUR 50m to EUR 100m range also more than doubled (22 vs. 49). The next two largest deals after CMR Surgical were i360medical (EUR 262m) and Kry (EUR 253m).

In Germany, the five largest deals last year were ATAI Life Sciences (EUR 130m), Caresyntax (EUR 110m), T-Knife (EUR 93m), Ada Health (EUR 90m) and Emergence Therapeutics (EUR 87m). This means that the deal volume of the largest German transaction is EUR 30m lower than that of the smallest deal in the top 10 for 2021 (New Amsterdam Pharma, EUR 160m).

While four of the ten largest deals were concluded in the UK in 2020, there were six in 2021. In contrast to 2020, Germany is not represented at all. “Among these top deals, in addition to geographic changes, there were also changes in sectors, as 2020 was primarily characterized by large pharma and biotech deals,” Dr. Schott added. This sector accounted for six of the top ten deals and, at 72 percent, represented almost three-quarters of the volume. In 2021, by contrast, only four of the top deals could be attributed to the pharma/biotech sector. At 31 percent, their share of the top 10 deals represented less than one-third of the volume. According to FCF’s analysis, the reason for this change in 2021 is three particularly large transactions from the Medtech sector, which accounted for 41 percent of the volume of the top ten deals for 2021. The MedTech deals are CMR-Surgical (EUR 497m), i360medical (EUR 262m), and Quanta Dialysis Technologies (EUR 197m).

Clear growth was recorded in all four life sciences sectors, namely MedTech, Healthcare Services, Health Tech, and Biotech/Pharma compared with 2020, with the MedTech sector being particularly noteworthy in terms of transaction volume, with a growth of 232 percent to EUR 3.2bn. The Healthcare Services sector also grew strongly, with a growth rate of 139 percent and an increase in transaction volume from EUR 447m to EUR 1.1bn. The Health Tech sector recorded the lowest growth, with a growth rate of 28 percent to EUR 1.7bn. In absolute terms, the biotech/pharma sector remains by far the strongest – with a 49 percent increase in volumes from EUR 4.8bn to EUR 7.2bn.

The ten largest investors invested EUR 1.4bn last year, compared with EUR 2.1bn the year before. “This suggests a more diversified investor base,” says Dr. Schott. The top three investors in 2021 were Novo Holdings (EUR 225m), BlackRock (EUR 191m), and Fidelity Management & Research (EUR 173m). Of these three investors, only Novo Holdings was also among the ten largest investors in the previous year. The composition of the ten largest investors also changed in 2021 compared with the previous year. Last year, only 53 percent of the investment volume came from Europe. In 2020, it had been 62 percent. According to FCF, the reason for this could be due to an almost doubled share of US investors. In 2020, they accounted for only 21 percent of the investment volume among the largest investors, compared with 40 percent in 2021.

For 2022, FCF is convinced that the transaction volume of the previous year will be exceeded again. “The amount of money raised by funds in 2021 is much higher than in previous years, so we expect volumes to increase in the near future,” explains Dr. Schott, adding, “For 2020, European funds received a total of EUR 5bn, and for 2021 it was EUR 7.6bn. With such an increase, by almost 54 percent, it can therefore be assumed that transaction volumes will also increase overall in 2022.” Comparing this funding volume with that in the United States, it is striking that the U.S. market is more than eight times larger than the European market. Even the 23 percent stronger growth in Europe has done little to change this substantial difference in size.

This press release was featured in Going Public.


FCF is a specialized Investment Bank and Financing Specialist, advising public and private small/mid-market companies in the German speaking regions.

FCF focuses on four primary client segments:
  • MidCap: Medium-sized companies with sustainable business models in typical “Mittelstand” industries, such as industrial products and machinery, automotive, communications, logistics, and consumer products
  • SmallCap / Growth: Companies with revenues between €20 and €100 million and high / above average growth rates
  • DeepTech: R&D-driven companies in technology sectors, entering the commercialization stage with initial fast-growing revenues
  • Life Sciences: Highly innovative companies focusing on the development of cutting-edge biotechnology, med-tech, health-tech and pharmaceuticals solutions

FCF structures, arranges and places equity and debt capital transactions and supports its clients’ growth, IPO/Pre-IPO, acquisition and standard balance sheet (re-)financing strategies.

Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Munich, FCF has direct relationships and works with all leading German, European and international financiers, lenders and investment houses addressing German small/mid-cap companies.