Life Sciences Snapshot ‐ A Quarterly Report on Financing Trends ‐ Q1 2021

A Year in Review & Spotlight on AI

18 minute read | February.01.2021

Key Takeaways

This edition of Orrick’s series of life sciences publications reviews full-year 2020 data in depth to identify and summarize the key trends that shaped venture investment across the sector. 2020 was a banner period for many metrics, including:

Orrick Life Sciences Snapshot Q1 2021
  • Total life sciences VC deal value hit a record $34.9 billion in the US, far outstripping the prior high of $25.6 billion recorded in 2018, a clear indication of accelerated interest in the sector and new entrants in the space.
  • Although Q4 did not surpass the record sum of capital invested in Q3 2020, it still hit the second-highest mark yet at $8.7 billion.
  • Median pre-money valuations at both the early and late stages hit new highs, at $30.0 million and $70.0 million, respectively, for the year.
  • In 2020, angel-stage deals represented their highest proportion of total life sciences VC deal count, signifying renewed interest in innovations that are likely in part attributable to the sheer volume of attention and capital centered around all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Even without taking into account completed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) activity, exits hit a record high of well over $50 billion in value in 2020, eclipsing any prior annual total.