Scrip is part of Pharma Intelligence UK Limited

This site is operated by Pharma Intelligence UK Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 13787459 whose registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. The Pharma Intelligence group is owned by Caerus Topco S.à r.l. and all copyright resides with the group.

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use. For high-quality copies or electronic reprints for distribution to colleagues or customers, please call +44 (0) 20 3377 3183

Printed By


Despite Pfizer/Seagen’s Splash, Deals Are Staying Small

First Half 2023 Deal-Making Infographic

Executive Summary

Although late 2022 and early 2023 saw a few large transactions, a look at deal activity in the first half of the year shows bolt-on M&A remains in vogue for biopharma. Alliances are down from first half 2022.

Biopharmaceutical M&A activity started with a bang in 2023, as Pfizer Inc.’s 13 March acquisition of Seagen Inc.  for $43bn was the sector’s largest buyout since a pair of mega-mergers (Bristol Myers Squibb Company/Celgene Corporation and AbbVie Inc./Allergan plc) in 2019. That deal, combined with Merck & Co., Inc.’s $10.8bn deal for Prometheus Biosciences, Inc on 16 April and on the heels of Amgen, Inc.’s $27.8bn acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics plc announced in December 2022, raised hopes that the industry might see more major transactions. But a look at deal statistics for the first half shows that big pharma by and large remains committed to smaller acquisitions.

The cluster of mega-deals drove up aggregate spending on biopharma M&A, which more than doubled the total spend in the first half of 2023 compared to the first two quarters of 2022. Average M&A size also doubled from the previous year as well, but the increase was largely driven by Pfizer’s Seagen acquisition – excluding that, average M&A value falls from $2.26bn to $881m, a decline from first half 2022.

Overall, a continued emphasis on smaller, bolt-on deals remains in place from previous years as companies look to build on their existing strengths in therapeutic areas and/or treatment modalities, while avoiding larger deals that are harder to integrate.

Looking at alliance deal-making in the first half of 2023 provides a clearer picture of the continuing trend, as biopharma companies are looking to add, but in a measured way that reflects the constrained financial market at present. Total deals declined by more than 25%, but aggregate potential value is nearly level with that recorded in the first half of 2022, as is the number of alliances with potential of $1bn or more. Average deal value is up compared to 2022, but that is a challenging metric to assess as a significant portion of the earnouts in alliance deals are unlikely to be realized. (Also see "The Deal Landscape At Mid-Year: Is Industry Following Through On Business Development Promises?" - Scrip, 24 Aug, 2022.)

So far, M&A and alliance deal-making in 2023 looks somewhat like a reprise of 2022’s activity during the first six months. Where full year 2022 was buoyed by the Amgen/Horizon merger at the end of the year, the Pfizer/Seagen deal early this year is likely to be a similar outlier increasing the averages for 2023. (Also see "2022 Deal-Making Snapshot: One Big Deal Didn’t Change The Downward Trends" - Scrip, 21 Apr, 2023.) The next six months will test how biopharma prevails in the challenging economic climate.

First Half 2023 Deals Review

M&A Overview Alliances Overview

Source: Biomedtracker and Scrip
Design: Nancy Pham

Related Content


Related Companies

Latest Headlines
See All



Ask The Analyst

Ask the Analyst is free for subscribers.  Submit your question and one of our analysts will be in touch.

Thank you for submitting your question. We will respond to you within 2 business days. my@email.address.

All fields are required.

Please make sure all fields are completed.

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please enter a valid e-mail address

Please enter a valid Phone Number

Ask your question to our analysts