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Dutch Life Sciences Trend Analysis 2024: Market is slowly picking up

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Biotechgate, the leading global biotech database, published their annual Trend Analysis Report 2024 of the Dutch life sciences sector. In 2022, the Dutch biotech landscape saw a sharp 50% decline in venture financing, reflecting the challenging global economic climate. Fortunately, the tide seems to turn. In 2023, life sciences saw a remarkable 50% rise in funding, underscoring the sector’s resilience and growth potential. Headliners included VectorY, Tagworks, Kynesis, Meatable, and VarmX. This year’s Trend Analysis benchmarks Dutch and other European biotech with the US. As one of the striking differences, US biotechs have three times as many assets in clinical development per capita compared to their Dutch counterparts. Illustrating the stark contrast in financial ecosystems, the availability of funding in the US still far outranks funds in Europe.

National trends

This year’s funding landscape for Dutch biotech companies shows both growth and challenges. The number of biotech companies expanded to 606, but the number of new companies per year steadily decreases since 2018. Although funding showed improvement compared to the previous year, it still fell short of the levels seen in 2021. Dutch biotech witnessed a modest increase of nearly 10% in total funding, while life sciences as a whole experienced a more substantial surge of almost 50%.

Dutch funding rounds in 2023 included VectorY, Tagworks, Kynesis, Meatable, and VarmX, highlighting investor confidence in emerging technologies. Additionally, 2023 saw significant M&A activity, with notable deals involving Dutch companies like Neogene Therapeutics (AstraZeneca), Adare Biome (DSM), Xinvento (Rhythm Pharmaceuticals), Verogen (Qiagen), and Synaffix (Lonza).

International benchmark

The international biotech funding benchmark in 2023 provided valuable insights into the global landscape. The inclusion of the US revealed that it houses a comparable number of biotech companies per capita to the Netherlands, with more focus on therapeutics & diagnostics and fewer in agri-food and biobased sectors. Remarkably, the US exhibits three times as many assets in clinical development per capita as the Netherlands. Switzerland emerged as a frontrunner in both company density and clinical assets, with Denmark following as the best of the rest. Moreover, all countries in the benchmark experienced a slowdown in the rate of founded companies, indicating a broader trend beyond the Dutch context. Notably, the US outpaces Europe in venture financing, enjoying nearly quadruple the funding available, underscoring its dominance in the global biotech investment landscape.

“We see the financing amounts slowly bouncing back up after a very difficult year in 2022. The difference in the amount of assets in development and the overwhelming difference in financing avenues between the US and Europe emphasize the need for continued efforts to strengthen and enhance our financial ecosystem. It’s crucial for Dutch biotech stakeholders to collaborate, innovate, and advocate for policies that can help the Dutch sector thrive.”

Annemiek Verkamman, Managing Director at hollandbio