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Chinese equities are up 25% for November and high profile fund managers are investing again

Investing in China is a decision to weigh up carefully. But after over a year of steep falls for Chinese equities between…
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Investing in China is a decision to weigh up carefully. But after over a year of steep falls for Chinese equities between July 2021 and late October this year, high-profile fund managers are putting their faith, and money, back into the world’s most populous country.

This week Bloomberg reported that two veteran fund managers, Franklin Templeton’s Manraj Sekhon and Bill Maldonado, CIO at Singapore’s Eastspring Investments, have joined a growing list of asset managers buying up Chinese equities. The bet is Beijing moves away from the Covid Zero policy that has disrupted supply chains since 2020 by reducing China’s manufacturing output and the broader economy.

Source: Yahoo Finance

The change in market sentiment towards China by international money managers has seen the MSCI China index gain almost 25% over November so far. The MSCI World index is up just 5% over the same period.

Maldonado reasoned, in the wake of his decision to invest in China again:

“The worst is already priced in and you’ve got plenty of upside. You’d be buying now and expecting things to kind of rebound on a three-to-six-month basis.”

Templeton’s Sekhon was even more directly bullish, commenting “it’s time to get involved in China if you haven’t already.” 

But Chinese equities are still viewed as an exotic and risky market by most retail investors and one relatively few are exposed to. There are good reasons to view Chinese equities as risky, not least as evidenced by the market’s recent 60%+ slump. But that doesn’t mean they don’t hold plenty of potential too, especially at current price levels and after what looks like it might be the start of a strong market recovery taking hold this month.

For investors who might want to take Franklin Templeton’s Sekhon at his word and “get involved in China”, what are the risks to consider and the factors that also mean a growing number of experienced fund managers see them as worth taking?

The risks posed by investing in China

Geopolitical tensions between China and the West, centred around Taiwan but extending to a struggle for power, influence and access to natural resources and trade corridors in South East Asia, the Pacific, Africa and elsewhere, will be a risk for the foreseeable future.

There’s also the risk of the trade war between the USA and China stoked during the Trump presidency of the former reigniting. That was highlighted this week when Trump announced his candidacy to run for the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election.

Is Beijing’s domestic policy as big a risk as potential geopolitical flashpoints?

Internal politics are a further risk to investing in China. The MSCI China index slumped by over 60% between early July 2021 and a recent low on October 23 this year and that precipitous drop was caused by a number of factors closely related to Beijing’s domestic policy.

The first was the bursting of the country’s housing bubble and loss of faith in the financial strength of construction companies following the well-publicised collapse into receivership of Evergrande, the country’s second-largest property developer. While officially a private company, Evergrande and China’s other giant construction companies have always been heavily linked to the state and it was presumed the state would intervene to bail it out when it announced liquidity problems last year.

Chinese faith in construction companies and the property sector has been eroded and the result was a worse-than-expected 1.3% year-on-year drop in prices over the 12 months to August. That’s according to official figures with suspicions the real state of the market, until recently a seemingly unstoppable engine of growth, could be worse.

chart china

Source: The Guardian

Research by Citigroup published by the Guardian newspaper in September found that nearly a third of all property loans in China were by then classed as bad debts – 29.1%, up from 24.3% at the end of last year. That increase has been driven by property developers rather than homeowners.

Despite recent commitments by Beijing to invest £26 billion in kickstarting the country’s housing market, things don’t look good. Around 2 million off-plan homes, in 2021 90% of new homes in China were sold off-plan, remain unfinished across China, according to a rough estimate by S&P. That figure will grow if sales continue to fall and developers continue to run out of money to complete projects.

S&P wrote:

“China’s property downturn has turned into a crisis of confidence that only the government can fix. If falling sales tip more developers into distressed territory, things will get worse.”

The issue stems from the decision taken by President Xi two years ago to clamp down on the “reckless” levels of debt being built up by property developers. But since the lending to these companies stopped, many haven’t had the liquidity to finish the properties they already had under construction. The cash raised from off-plan sales had already been re-invested in buying the next piece of land or starting construction on the next project.

President Xi and the Chinese Communist Party more broadly have not only cracked down on the property sector over the past couple of years. China’s authorities became concerned about the growing power and influence of the largest companies in the private sector more generally, and their hugely wealthy owners.

The tech sector, which many of the country’s biggest companies like Alibaba, Tencent and TikTok-owner ByteDance belong to, was another high profile target. Chinese internet companies contribute 20% of the aggregate net profits of China’s top 500 companies. However, a government crackdown which often seemed indiscriminate and without any obvious pattern or internal logic, sent out a message to companies and wealthy owners about who is ultimately in charge.

The crackdown has forced major companies, including Alibaba and Tencent to cut jobs over the past couple of years. Some of the other major repercussions were listed by Axiom China as:

  • Food delivery giant Meituan lost half its market value — tens of billions of dollars — last year after regulators required food delivery apps to cut their fees.
  • After riding hailing app Didi went ahead with its New York initial public offering (IPO) despite a warning from China’s cybersecurity watchdog, regulators issued fines, temporarily prohibited new user sign-ups, and embedded government officials directly within the company’s ranks. Didi also lost billions in market value.
  • Regulators also halted the planned IPO of Alibaba’s finance arm ANT Group, at the time projected to be the largest IPO in history.

Last month, after changing the country’s constitution to secure a third term, President Xi Jinping effectively secured ultimate power for life and filled the country’s highest decision-making body with loyalists. Fears of tighter government control over businesses resulted in multiple stock market drops in the aftermath of the Chinese Communist Party Congress in October which cemented President Xi’s power.

The third major domestic policy to hit Chinese stock market valuations has been the country’s Zero Covid policy. Outbreaks of the Covid-19 virus in factories or elsewhere in the country have resulted in strict lockdowns that have seen workers locked into factories for weeks and neighbourhoods or whole cities cut off from the outside world.

That has hit the country’s GDP with a recent Reuters poll forecasting growth of 3.2% for 2022, well below the target of 5.5% and meaning the year will show one of the worst economic performances in almost 50 years.

Analysts are split on whether the Zero Covid policy will continue or not. Some have expressed the opinion there are signs there may be a pivot. However, Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, predicted in late October:

“There is no prospect of China lifting its zero-COVID policy in the near future, and we don’t expect any meaningful relaxation before 2024. Recurring virus disruptions will therefore continue to weigh on in-person activity and further large-scale lockdowns can’t be ruled out.”

How big are the risks?

That investing in China necessitates taking on some significant risks is clear. However, there are also strong counter-arguments that short of a very serious incident such as an invasion of Taiwan, exposure to the world’s second-largest economy, offers serious potential upside investors should think carefully about ignoring.

China seems to have little economic incentive to make a move that would separate its economy from the Western markets it still very much relies on. This means the general consensus is that while it will continue to flex its growing geopolitical and military muscle in its region and beyond, and there are likely to be standoffs, any outright conflict is unlikely. At least in the near to medium term.

The tight control the authorities exercise over the economy also means it can be expected to continue to intervene, even if it periodically sends strong messages to the private sector and will seek greater involvement. Every time the economy has started to slow, there has been intervention and that can be expected to continue. This year a raft of stimulus initiatives have been launched.

Hao Zhou, chief economist at Guotai Junan International says:

“On the policy front, the overall policy will remain supportive. In our view, further policy impetus is required to buoy economic recovery, but additional interest rate cuts are unlikely during a period of aggressive global central bank rate hikes.”

The property market has also shown some recent signs of stabilising and even if more cash than has been promised by authorities is thought to be required, it is unlikely any large-scale meltdown will be allowed to happen. Chinese households losing a level of trust in property could also have a positive impact on equities.

Bloomberg reported the brokerage and investment group CLSA as predicting Chinese households will move 127 trillion yuan, £14.8 trillion, out of property over the next nine years and into other investment classes like equities, funds and bonds. If that happens, even to some extent, it would be a big boost to stock and other financial markets.

There are also hopes the property crisis is coming to an end. On Monday November 14, shares of China’s biggest property developer Country Garden leapt as much as 52% in Hong Kong after Beijing unveiled a 16-point plan ahead of the weekend that significantly eases a crackdown on lending to the sector.

Measures include allowing banks to extend maturing loans to developers, supporting property sales by reducing the size of down payments and cutting mortgage rates, boosting other funding channels such as bond issues, and ensuring the delivery of pre-sold homes to buyers.

Harry Hu, chief China economist for Macquarie Group is quoted by CNN as saying

“in essence, policymakers told banks to try their best in supporting the property sector”.

There are also hopes the crackdown on the tech sector may have ended for the foreseeable future, even if Beijing is likely to demand greater influence in how they are run. China bulls are convinced market capitalisation losses over the past two years mean China’s tech company’s are now extremely cheap. Eastspring’s Maldonado comments:

“Valuations had gotten very cheap and earnings expectations had gotten very, very low.”

Anand Batepati, portfolio manager at GFM Focus Investing, also recently told CNBC’s Street Signs Asia show that Tencent and Alibaba are “extremely strong companies” and that “unless you think that the government or some external force is going to destroy 90% of their existing business, then I think it’s a no brainer”.

He continued:

“Unless somebody thinks that the government is going to come and expropriate these companies … I think over the next three to five years, China’s tech sector could see another huge level of growth.” 

Should you consider investing in China?

A long term investment in China is a bet that the huge country will not pursue a strong isolationist agenda over the next several years. That is certainly not impossible but it also looks relatively unlikely, for now. There are hopes that this week’s meeting between Presidents Biden and Xi at the G20 summit might signal a thawing of relations, based on an understanding in both countries that tensions ratcheting up is not in anyone’s interests.

There does look like a good chance China’s stock market may have started out on a sustainable recovery this month and if that continues it may well be among the best performers internationally over the next year or two. That might prove a very tempting prospect amid the doom and gloom elsewhere for investors with a healthy appetite for risk.

China is likely to split investment experts for years to come. The potential is clear. As are the risks.

The post Chinese equities are up 25% for November and high profile fund managers are investing again first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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Your Lululemon Faves May Not be Around for Long

A sportswear giant is accusing lululemon of patent infringement.

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A sportswear giant is accusing lululemon of patent infringement.

The Gucci loafers. The Burberry  (BBRYF) trench coat. When it comes to fashion, having a unique design is everything. This is why brands spend millions both creating and protecting their signature looks and the reason, as in the case of Adidas  (ADDDF) , extricating a brand's design from creators who behave badly is a costly and difficult process.

There is also the constant effort to release new styles without infringing on another group's style. This week, sportswear giant Nike  (NKE) - Get Free Report filed a lawsuit accusing lululemon  (LULU) - Get Free Report of infringing on its patents in the shoe line that the Vancouver-based activewear company launched last spring.

After years of selling exclusively clothing, accessories and the odd yoga mat, lululemon expanded into the world of footwear with a running shoe it dubbed Blissfeel last March. These were soon followed by training shoe and pool slide styles known as Chargefeel, Strongfeel -- all three of the designs (including a Chargefeel Low and a Chargefeel Mid design) have been mentioned in the lawsuit as causing "economic harm and irreparable injury" to Nike.

Nike's History Of Suing Lululemon Over Design

The specific issue lies in the technology used to build the shoes. According to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, certain knitted elements, webbing and tubular structures are too similar to ones that had been used by Nike earlier.

Nike is keeping the amount it hopes to receive from lululemon under wraps but is insisting the company infringed on its patent when releasing a shoe line too similar to its own. Lululemon had previously talked about how its shoe line "far exceeded" its leaders' expectations both in terms of sales and ability to expand.

In a Q1 earnings call, chief executive Calvin McDonald said that the line "definitely had a lot more demand than we anticipated."

Nike has already tried to go after lululemon through the courts once before. In January 2022, it accused the company of infringing on six patents over its at-home Mirror Home Gym. As the world emerged out of the pandemic, lululemon has been billing it as a hybrid model between at-home and in-person classes. 

The lawsuit was also filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan but ultimately fizzled out.

When it comes to the shoe line lawsuit, Lululemon has been telling media outlets that "Nike's claims are unjustified" and the company "look[s] forward to proving [their] case in court."

Lululemon

Some More Examples Of Prominent Design Battles

In the fashion industry, design infringement accusations are common and rarely lead to high-profile rulings. While Nike has gone after the technology itself in both cases, lawsuits more often focus on the style or pattern on a given piece.

Shein, a China-based fast-fashion company that took on longtime leaders like H&M  (HNNMY)  and Fast Retailing  (FRCOF) 's Uniqlo with its bottom-of-the-barrel pricing, has faced numerous allegations from smaller and independent designers over the copying of designs -- in some cases not even from fashion designers but artists painting in local communities.

"They didn't remotely bother trying to change anything," U.K.-based artist Vanessa Bowman told the Guardian after seeing her painting of a local church appear on a sweater on Shein's website. "The things I paint are my garden and my little village: it’s my life. And they’ve just taken my world to China and whacked it on an acrylic jumper."

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McDonalds President Says It Might Be ‘Impossible’ to Operate in These Key States

The Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act is ruffling fast-food industry feathers.

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The Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act is ruffling fast-food industry feathers.

While the pandemic accelerated both discussions and movement of businesses, talk of how California's high tax rates and liberal leadership has made it "impossible" to do business in the state is anything but new. So are alarm-raising statements about how big business is fleeing the Golden State en masse.

In 1933, one state official wrote that "if we set up a tax on one of their supercolossal $7,000,000 productions, [the movie industry] would no doubt transfer their operations to" Florida. Similar fears of a business exodus to Nevada pushed local legislators to give a property tax break to equipment manufacturers in the 1960s.

More recently, Elon Musk told the audience at the All In Summit in Miami that the Golden State had "gone from a land of opportunity to the land of taxes, over-regulation and litigation." He had earlier moved the Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report offices from the Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas at the end of 2021.

This Is What McDonald's Has Against California

While discussions around the tech exodus took place throughout much of 2020 and 2021, a new discussion has begun around an industry that exists in every state in the country: the fast food business.

In the fall of 2022, the state passed what shortens to the FAST bill -- the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act could require fast-food restaurants to pay workers up a minimum wage of $22 an hour with an annual raise of 3.5%.

While initially passed, the law has faced significant pushback both from the industry and local voters. A referendum vote has been set to November 2024 and implementation is blocked until that takes place.

Industry leaders have predictably been very vocal against the law. In an open letter from January 25, McDonald's USA President Joe Erlinger wrote that it "makes it all but impossible to run small business restaurants."

"Under the FAST Act, an unelected council of political insiders, not local business owners and their teams, would make big decisions about crucial elements of running a business, fracturing the economy in the process," Erlinger wrote while adding that paying fast-food workers such a wage could raise the cost of eating at a McDonald's by as much as 20%.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Another State's Worker Movement Is Also Causing A Headache For McDonald's

While California has led the pack with fast-food worker protection movements, Virginia followed with a similar bill just six months later. This month, it introduced Virginia's House Bill 2478.

While not committed to a specific minimum wage, the passed law would require a council of state legislators, elected officials, industry representatives and fast-food workers to get together and regularly oversee worker conditions and compensation.

With both a Republican governor and Republican-controlled house, the bill is extremely unlikely to pass in Virginia in the near future. That said, it still managed to ruffle the feathers of McDonald's leadership -- in the same open letter, Erlinger also takes aim at Bill 2478 as an example of what can happen if California sets an example and, in his words, "this one-sided style of democracy is mimicked elsewhere."

"Just last week, a Virginia legislator imported from California introduced a near-identical piece of legislation that state leaders now have an opportunity to stop in its tracks," Erlinger wrote. "And no doubt, they'll keep looking for backdoors in California."

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EY Eyes Comeback for Biopharma M&A

EY noted that the total value of biopharma M&A in 2022 was $88 billion, down 15% from $104 billion in 2021. The $88 billion accounted for most of the…

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A recent trickle of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) announcements in the billion-dollar-and-up range suggests that biopharma may be ready to resume dealmaking this year—although the value and number of deals isn’t expected to return to the highs seen just before the pandemic.

2022 ended with a handful of 10- and 11-figure M&A deals, led by Amgen’s $27.8 billion buyout of Horizon Therapeutics, announced December 13. The dealmaking continued into January with three buyouts announced on the first day of the recent J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference: AstraZeneca agreed to acquire CinCor Pharma for up to $1.8 billion, while Chiesi Farmaceutici agreed to shell out up to $1.48 billion cash for Amryt, and Ipsen Group said it will purchase Albireo Pharma for $952 million-plus.

Biopharmas generated about $88 billion in M&A deals in 2022, down 15% from $104 billion in 2021. The $88 billion accounted for most of the $135 billion in 124 deals in the life sciences. The number of biopharma deals fell 17%, to 75 deals from 90. The other 49 deals totaling $47 million consisted of transactions in “medtech,” which includes diagnostics developers and companies specializing in “virtual health” such as telemedicine. [EY]
EY—the professional services firm originally known as Ernst & Young—recently noted that the total value of biopharma M&A in 2022 was $88 billion, down 15% from $104 billion in 2021 [See Chart]. The $88 billion accounted for most of the $135 billion in 124 deals in the life sciences. That $135 billion figure is less than half the record-high $313 billion recorded in 2019, including $261 billion in 70 biopharma deals.

The number of biopharma deals fell 17% to 75 deals from 90. EY’s numbers include only deals greater than $100 million. The other 49 deals totaling $47 million consisted of transactions in “medtech,” which includes diagnostics developers and companies specializing in “virtual health” such as telemedicine.

We expect this to be a more active year as the sentiment starts to normalize a little bit,” Subin Baral, EY Global Life Sciences Deals Leader, told GEN Edge.

Baral is not alone in foreseeing a comeback for biopharma M&A.

John Newman, PhD, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, predicted last week in a research note that biopharma companies will pursue a growing number of smaller cash deals in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion this year. He said rising interest rates are discouraging companies from taking on larger blockbuster deals that require buyers to take on larger sums of debt.

“We look for narrowing credit spreads and lower interest rates to encourage larger M&A ($50 billion and more) deals. We do not anticipate many $50B+ deals that could move the XBI +5%,” Newman said. (XBI is the SPDR S&P Biotech Electronic Transfer Fund, one of several large ETFs whose fluctuations reflect investor enthusiasm for biopharma stock.)

Newman added: “We continue to expect a biotech swell in 2023 that may become an M&A wave if credit conditions improve.”

Foreseeing larger deals than Newman and Canaccord Genuity is PwC, which in a commentary this month predicted: “Biotech deals in the $5–15 billion range will be prevalent and will require a different set of strategies and market-leading capabilities across the M&A cycle.”

Those capabilities include leadership within a specific therapeutic category, for which companies will have to buy and sell assets: “Prepared management teams that divest businesses that are subscale while doubling down on areas where leadership position and the right to win is tangible, may be positioned to deliver superior returns,” Glenn Hunzinger, PwC’s U.S. Pharma & Life Science Leader, and colleagues asserted.

The Right deals

Rising interest and narrowing credit partially explain the drop-off in deals during 2022, EY’s Baral said. Another reason was sellers adjusting to the drop in deal valuations that resulted from the decline of the markets which started late in 2021.

Subin Baral, EY Global Life Sciences Deals Leader

“It took a little bit longer to realize the reality of the market conditions on the seller side. But on the buyer side, the deals that they were looking at were not just simply a valuation issue. They were looking at the quality of the assets. And you can see that the quality deals—the right deals, as we call them—are still getting done,” Baral said.

The right deals, according to Baral, are those in which buyers have found takeover targets with a strong, credible management team, solid clinical data, and a clear therapeutic focus.

“Rare disease and oncology assets are still dominating the deal making, particularly oncology because your addressable market continues to grow,” Baral said. “Unfortunately, what that means is the patient population is growing too, so there’s this increased unmet need for that portfolio of assets.”

Several of 2022’s largest M&A deals fit into that “right” category, Baral said—including Amgen-Horizon, Pfizer’s $11.6-billion purchase of Biohaven Pharmaceuticals and the $6.7-billion purchase of Arena Pharmaceuticals (completed in March 2022); and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $4.1-billion buyout of Turning Point Therapeutics.

“Quality companies are still getting funded one way or the other. So, while the valuation dropped, people were all expecting a flurry of deals because they are still companies with a shorter runway of cash that will be running to do deals. But that really didn’t happen from a buyer perspective,” Baral said. “The market moved a little bit from what was a seller’s market for a long time, to what we would like to think of as the pendulum swinging towards a buyers’ market.”

Most biopharma M&A deals, he said, will be “bolt-on” acquisitions in which a buyer aims to fill a gap in its clinical pipeline or portfolio of marketed drugs through purchases that account for less than 25% of a buyer’s market capitalization.

Baral noted that a growing number of biopharma buyers are acquiring companies with which they have partnered for several years on drug discovery and/or development collaborations. Pfizer acquired BioHaven six months after agreeing to pay the company up to $1.24 billion to commercialize rimegepant outside the U.S., where the migraine drug is marketed as Nurtec® ODT.

“There were already some kind of relationships there before these deals actually happened. But that also gives an indication that there are some insights to these targets ahead of time for these companies to feel increasingly comfortable, and pay the valuation that they’re paying for them,” Baral said.

$1.4 Trillion available

Baral sees several reasons for increased M&A activity in 2023. First, the 25 biopharma giants analyzed by EY had $1.427 trillion available as of November 30, 2022, for M&A in “firepower”—which EY defines as a company’s capacity to carry out M&A deals based on the strength of its balance sheet, specifically the amount of capital available for M&A deals from sources that include cash and equivalents, existing debt, and market cap.

That firepower is up 11% from 2021, and surpasses the previous record of $1.22 trillion in 2014, the first year that EY measured the available M&A capital of large biopharmas.

Unlike recent years, Baral said, biopharma giants are more likely to deploy that capital on M&A this year to close the “growth gap” expected to occur over the next five years as numerous blockbuster drugs lose patent exclusivity and face new competition from lower-cost generic drugs and biosimilars.

“There is not enough R&D in their pipeline to replenish a lot of their revenue. And this growth gap is coming between 2024 and 2026. So, they don’t have a long runway to watch and stay on the sidelines,” Baral said.

This explains buyers’ interest in replenishing pipelines with new and innovative treatments from smaller biopharmas, he continued. Many smaller biopharmas are open to being acquired because declining valuations and limited cash runways have increased investor pressure on them to exit via M&A. The decline of the capital markets has touched off dramatic slowdowns in two avenues through which biopharmas have gone public in recent years—initial public offerings (IPOs) and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

EY recorded just 17 IPOs being priced in the U.S. and Europe, down 89% from 158 a year earlier. The largest IPO of 2022 was Prime Medicine’s initial offering, which raised $180.3 million in net proceeds for the developer of a “search and replace” gene editing platform.

Another 12 biopharmas agreed to SPAC mergers with blank-check companies, according to EY, with the largest announced transaction (yet to close at deadline) being the planned $899 million merger of cancer drug developer Apollomics with Maxpro Capital Acquisition.

“For the smaller players, the target biotech companies, their alternate source of access to capital pathways such as IPOs and SPACs is shutting down on them. So how would the biotech companies continue to fund themselves? Those with quality assets are still getting funded through venture capital or other forms of capital,” Baral said. “But in general, there is not a lot of appetite for the biotech that is taking that risk.

Figures from EY show a 37% year-to-year decline in the total value of U.S. and European VC deals, to $16.88 billion in 2022 from $26.62 billion in 2021. Late-stage financing rounds accounted for just 31% of last year’s VC deals, down from 34% in 2021 and 58% in 2012. The number of VC deals in the U.S. and Europe fell 18%, to 761 last year from 930 in 2021.

The decline in VC financing helps explain why many smaller biopharmas are operating with cash “runways” of less than 12 months. “Depending on the robustness of their data, their therapeutic area, and their management, there will be a natural attrition. Some of these companies will just have to wind down,” Baral added.

M&A headwinds

Baral also acknowledged some headwinds that are likely to dampen the pace of M&A activity. In addition to rising interest rates and inflation increasing the cost of capital, valuations remain high for the most sought-after drugs, platforms, and other assets—a result of growing and continuing innovation.

Another headwind is growing regulatory scrutiny of the largest deals. Illumina’s $8 billion purchase of cancer blood test developer Grail has faced more than two years of challenges from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and especially the European Commission—while Congress acted last year to begin curbing the price of prescription drugs and insulin through the “Inflation Reduction Act.”

Those headwinds may prompt many companies to place greater strategic priority on collaborations and partnerships instead of M&A, Baral predicted, since they offer buyers early access to newer technologies before deciding whether to invest more capital through a merger or acquisition.

“Early-stage collaboration, early minority-stake investment becomes increasingly important, and it has been a cornerstone for early access to these technologies for the industry for a long, long time, and that is not changing any time soon,” Baral said. “On the other hand, even on the therapeutic area side, early-stage development is still expensive to do in-house for the large biopharma companies because of their cost structure.

“So, it is efficient cost-wise and speed-wise to buy these assets when they reach a certain point, which is probably at Phase II onward, and then you can pull the trigger on acquisitions if needed,” he added.

The post EY Eyes Comeback for Biopharma M&A appeared first on GEN - Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.

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