Massachusetts biopharma companies raised a record $13.7 billion in venture capital last year


Massachusetts drugmakers continued to bring in huge amounts of venture capital last year, setting a record for funds raised, according to the industry trade group.

Homegrown biopharma companies attracted $13.7 billion in 2021, up 70% from a year earlier, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council said in a report Wednesday. The group said “the power of biopharmaceutical companies to change the course of human health through vaccines and therapies” continues to attract money.

“Biotech companies are launching every day in Massachusetts, and investors want to be involved from the start,” MassBio chief executive Joe Broncore said in a statement. “Not just for potentially good returns, but also for the chance to play a part in creating a breakthrough drug.”

Cambridge startups ElevateBio and EQRx (before they went public) raised the biggest fundraisers, raising over $500 million each, and Laronde Therapeutics raised $440 million. MassBio pointed out that not all activity was concentrated in the Cambridge cluster in and around Kendall Square; about 42% of the latest venture capital funding raised has gone to companies outside of the biotech cluster.

Twenty-five companies went public in Massachusetts in 2021, raising $3.8 billion. The previous year, 21 companies completed IPOs, raising $3.9 billion. That doesn’t mean all is well for publicly traded biotech companies, which have taken a hit on Wall Street as part of a broader market downturn.

XBI, an index fund that tracks small and medium-sized biotech companies, has lost nearly 43% over the past year. The company with Massachusetts’ largest IPO of 2021, Adagio Therapeutics, has fallen nearly 70% in the past year.

Last year, 34 local biopharmaceutical companies were acquired for nearly $63.9 billion, a figure largely driven by AstraZeneca’s $39 billion takeover of Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Twenty-eight companies were acquired in 2020 for $15.6 billion.

Anissa Gardizy can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8.


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