Three years of strong financial performance in healthcare have generated over $50 billion in potential value back to investors. Last year saw the most capital invested in healthcare companies compared to any other year. The key driver in this performance, record investment in biopharma, saw the largest share of crossover investment by non-traditional biotech investors participating in large mezzanine rounds. The past three years have also seen the largest sustained and most prosperous IPO bull market in healthcare, but the IPO markets have dipped in the beginning of the new year.
When public markets taper off, we start to see spikes elsewhere, such as in partnering activities. Total M&A deal values have reached a decade-high, and partnering deals spiked both in number and value toward the end of 2015 into 2016. Licensing deals have also seen an upward trend in value, with up-front payouts increasing for large and small deals alike. The overall outlook for biopharma is positive, as these exits and successes have led to higher returns and greater investor confidence. Timely and successful fundraising cycles mean venture healthcare has enough capital to support existing investments and new financings, which will reinforce biotech companies as the IPO market declines and non-traditional crossover investors pull away.
Chris Ehrlich will analyze these and other key trends and data from 2015 in the financing and licensing markets of biopharma, and provide his outlook on the opportunities and challenges the biotechnology industry is facing in 2016.
Chris Ehrlich is a Managing Director and Head of the West Coast office for Locust Walk Partners. He brings a significant biotechnology industry and venture capital experience. Since joining Locust Walk in 2013, Chris has been involved with leading multiple transactions for emerging biopharmaceutical companies.
Prior to Locust Walk, he was a Managing Director at InterWest Partners. He previously served on the boards of KAI Pharmaceuticals as the Lead Director (acquired by Amgen), Biomimetic Therapeutics, Inc. (NASD: BMTI, acquired by Wright Medical Technologies) Invuity (NASD: IVTY) and Xenon Pharmaceuticals (NASD: XENE). At all four companies, he sat on the Transaction Committees of the Board of Directors where he oversaw numerous business development deals.
Prior to joining InterWest, Ehrlich was director, licensing and business development at Purdue Pharma, a private pharmaceutical firm based in Stamford, CT. In this position, he was responsible for developing a biologic oncology franchise, including in-licensing key intellectual properties, establishing and managing collaborations with biotechnology companies and participating in the commercial operations of Purdue BioPharma, a biotechnology company located in Princeton, NJ.
Prior to joining Purdue, Ehrlich worked in business development at Genentech, in venture capital at The U.S. Russia Investment Fund, and in biotechnology strategy development at LEK Consulting.
He has an undergraduate degree, cum laude, from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Prostate Management Diagnostics, Inc. and on the Advisory Boards of Innovations and New Ventures at Northwestern University and the Peter Michael Foundation, where he is a Senior Advisor. He is also a member of the Young Presidents Organization.
Chris lives in San Francisco with his wife Sara, and two kids, Charlotte, 13 and Harrison, 4. In their free time, they enjoy biking, hiking and skiing.
He is a registered rep with FINRA, holding his Series 79, 63 and 24 licenses.