Despite a number of pressures and uncertainties, the United States’ life sciences sector has entered 2019 with an air of cautious optimism. 2018 was a record year for generic drug approvals, exceeding the FDA’s previous record set in 2017, and exciting discoveries in the biotech space are driving the industry further towards precision therapies and cures. Nevertheless, the industry’s trajectory for the year ahead is somewhat unclear. On the back of lower-than-expected M&A activity in 2018, 2019 forecasts are somewhat uncertain; from Washington D.C., the impacts of the prevalent rhetoric around drug price pressure and transparency coupled with the U.S. government shutdown at the beginning of 2019 are still unfolding; meanwhile, CFIUS’ increased scrutiny on foreign investment could be detrimental to deal flow and investment dynamics, with the U.S.-China relationship particularly in the spotlight. In an increasingly multi-factorial environment, executives are faced with more complex decisions as they define their strategies.
Whilst the U.S. life sciences industry stretches from coast to coast, certain hubs of activity take center stage. Perhaps the most challenging state to characterize is California – the innovation strengths of the Bay Area are well known, but other areas within the 163,696-square-mile Golden State also deserve the spotlight on both the national and international stage. This California-focused pre-release of GBR’s 2019 US Biopharmaceuticals research seeks to shine a spotlight on state’s less-recognized hubs, bringing them out of the shadow cast by the Bay Area’s success onto an equal platform to be considered as investment destinations.