Following is a list of 10 alliances announced in recent years, mostly by pharma and biotech giants with venture capital funds, ranked by total size of fund in which the biopharma(s) invested. Alliances are listed by their partners; their purpose; the role of their partners; the financial contributions of their partners, where disclosed; rights and/or options on drugs resulting from alliance activity, again where disclosed; and the date the alliance was announced. An additional two alliances did not disclose size of total investment, and therefore are included in the list without a ranking.
Significantly, five of the 12 listed alliances were formed during 2013, and another five last year, reflecting the industry’s increasing view that the alliances will offer a more efficient way of developing new drugs by requiring much less than the billions long spent up-front by biopharmas on internal R&D. While the alliances require much less capital from industry, it remains to be seen whether R&D activity will increase, and more new drugs win approval and reach the market, to justify the reduced investment.
Also notable is the presence of two pharma giants in several alliances: GlaxoSmithKline, listed in four of the listed alliances, and Merck & Co., a partner in three funds, two of them listed in a single entry because the partners are similar and the funds, complementary. Both pharma giants have placed the largest bets on partnerships with venture funds as holding the greatest hope for bringing new drugs through trials and approvals faster. However, the top alliance was not led by a pharma giant but by Russia’s state-owned Rusnano, whose alliance was included because it provides business development as well as investment services for companies in “medicine and pharmacology” in addition to nanotechnology and other tech sectors.
The list does not include individual corporate venture funds, the topic of last week’s GEN list; or top venture capital firms, the subject of a GEN list published December 17, 2012.