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A very strong year for life science funding in Scandinavia

BioArctic listing Nasdaq Foto Rickard Kilström

A new report from Industrifonden shows that life science companies in Scandinavia raised $2.2bn in 2017, doubling from 2016 and equivalent to the total funding amount for  2014-2016 ($2.4bn), with strong growth across IPOs, refunds and venture funding.

The new report also states that biotech/pharma raised a total of $500m through IPOs, equivalent to 12% of the total U.S. biotech/pharma IPO value, concluding that 2017 was a record year for funding in Scandinavian life sciences.

About the report

The venture capital investor Industrifonden’s report Scandinavian Life Science Funding Report covers the investment climate and financing activities in the life science sector in Scandinavia during 2017. In the report investment activities in around 130 companies has been mapped and it also includes private fundraising from Scandinavian specialist life science venture capital investors as well as public capital raising in connection with IPOs and new issues. Marketplaces included are Nasdaq Stockholm, Oslo Axess, Nasdaq Copenhagen, Nasdaq First North and Aktietorget.

Stockholm remains the main market

The report also shows that Stockholm maintains its position as the main market for funding of innovative companies, accounting for ~85% of total Scandinavian funding. $1.8bn public funding was raised in 2017, a 44% increase from 2016, driven by more and larger IPOs (155% increase including Getinge and Medicover). The companies Oncopeptides, Medicover, Bonesupport, Handicare, BioArtic went public in Stockholm with a median IPO raise of $600m. Copenhagen and Oslo had one IPO each (Orphazyme and BergenBio respectively).

More and larger IPOs across all marketplaces (except for Aktietorget) was also reported, with 34 companies raising $950m. The Nasdaq Stockholm median IPO sized up 70% from 2016. First North is an increasingly important marketplace, raising $386m in IPOs and refunds, up 129% from 2016, shows the report. It states that post IPO performance could raise bar for new entrants. A mixed performance post IPO with ~50% of companies trading above subscription price could result in raised bar for upcoming listings.

A strong growth for private VC funding

The private VC funding market also saw strong growth during 2017. Specialist life science VCs increased investments by 25%, investing an estimated $95m in private Scandinavian companies. This was driven by both new and follow-on investments. Industrifonden made the most investment, with 22% of total VC investments. Industrifonden, HealthCap, Novo Seeds and Sunstone combined account for 65% of total specialist VC capital. There is a limited pool of well-funded specialist life science VC investors in Scandinavia stated the report.

Photo showing the listing of BioArctic on the Main Market of Nasdaq Stockholm (business.nasdaq.com). Photographer: Rickard Kilström