London, Paris & Cambridge 'Healthcare Finance Capitals'

Cambridge is one of three cities to have attracted substantial healthcare-business investment.
PitchBook report shows London, Paris and UK's Cambridge dominated investment in healthcare in Q1 2024, with Israel also bouyant

London, Paris and Cambridge, in England, are the cities that dominate healthcare investment in the EMEA region, a new report shows.

The Q1 2024 EMEA Healthcare Market Snapshot report is published by Private capital markets financial data and research firm, PitchBook. 

It reveals venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) investment in healthcare, broken down by city, and shows healthcare VC investment in the region is highly concentrated – with about 50% of deal value in just three locations: London, Paris, and Cambridge. 

Beyond the traditional investment hot spots in Western Europe, Israel also stands out, with more than 1,500 healthcare startups in the country, – more than 9% of all EMEA-based VC-backed companies.

Other key takeaways include:

  • Healthcare VC activity in EMEA peaked in Q4 2020, with $5.5 billion in deal value over 575 deals. 
  • From late 2021 into early 2023, deal activity saw a significant downtrend trend but has since stabilised, at around $2.5bn of quarterly deal value.
  • PE activity has also been sluggish, with this feeling the effects of higher interest rates, given the sector’s heavy reliance on leverage to boost returns. 

A report from PitchBook earlier this year chimed with these findings, also showing that Healthcare PE deals in the US in Q£ 2023 had seen a decline.

Dechra Pharmaceutical the one big EMEA deal in 2024

According to the report, to date, 2024 has seen just one notable PE deal: Dechra Pharmaceuticals’ January take-private by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and EQT, the Swedish global investment organisation.

Among EMEA-based healthcare startups, CMR Surgical, Insightec, Kry, Doctolib, and Apollo Therapeutics top the list of the most VC dollars raised, ranging from $405mn (Apollo) to $1.1bn (CMR Surgical). 

Of these, Cambridge-based startups CMR Surgical (surgical robotics) and Apollo Therapeutics (biopharma) appear most likely to exit via IPO in the coming years, says PitchBook, with VC Exit Predictor IPO scores of 92% and 77%, respectively.

Rare-disease drug development, AI medical imaging analysis, and precision medicine are among the innovation themes that PitchBook says are likely to see strong investor interest in EMEA. 

Compared with other regions, unique market dynamics exist in EMEA in the digital treatments space, it says. 

PitchBook also says the cannabis sector is another space to watch, as recreational use remains largely prohibited in Europe, though the long-term trend points toward decriminalisation.

A PitchBook report earlier in the year also showed that an ageing population is attracting cash into healthcare

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