Companies developing therapies targeting rare diseases hit the markets in January to raise a combined $2.9 billion in venture, and public equity and debt, up 249 percent over the first month of 2020. This compared to $7.2 billion raised by all therapeutic drug developers, down 20 percent from the previous year.

Venture rounds for rare disease drug developers were especially robust, with seven companies raising $742 million in five series A rounds and two series B rounds, up 165 percent from January 2020. Venture money flowed to neurologic disorders, genetic disorders, and fibrotic diseases.

Public companies focused on rare diseases also took the opportunity to raise capital, with public equity and debt financings with 19 companies raising $2.1 billion, up 303 percent from January 2020. The largest financing was BridgBio’s $650 million convertible note offering at the end of the month.   

The IPO market continued to sizzle in January but initial public offerings of rare disease therapeutics developers got off to a slow start with no completed IPOs in the month. This is likely to change as several companies joined the queue.

Dealmaking activity among all therapeutics drug developers was robust in January with nine M&A transactions compared to just five in 2020, and partnering activity rose 45.5 percent in number of deals and up 98 percent in total deal values. Dewpoint Therapeutics, a company focused on biomolecular condensates, entered into a research collaboration with Pfizer to develop potential treatments for myotonic dystrophy type 1, a rare genetic disorder, valued at $239 million in upfront, research development, and sales milestone payments.

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