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Halfway through 2014, the Industry Doesn’t Look Half Bad

This is it — what an exciting year looks like. You get a strong first few quarters, summer hurtles into autumn, and chances are great the life-science-sector momentum will keep right on going.

Already by the beginning of July, with 68 life-science IPOs and $4.7 billion raised, we’d blown past the IPOs from the entire previous year. Definitely the strongest showing since the recession. The best part? 51 of those IPOs were for biotechs developing innovative therapies.

Of course, there are sober voices in the chorus. Life sciences investment still underperformed the $9.5 billion in total venture capital investments made in the first quarter, and are now at the lowest proportion of total investments since 2001. Overall, however, the feeling is upbeat.

Interestingly enough, the top private company financing in June was completed by BGI Shenzhen, a subsidiary of the genomics leader BGI. This despite China’s February ban on non-invasive pre-natal testing, which is BGI Shenzhan’s focus.

Mergers and acquisitions continued on a healthy pace, to say the least, nearly tripling between the first half of 2013 and the first half of 2014. There’s thinking that this is partly because of an Affordable-Care-Act inspired rise in consolidations among hospitals and IT companies.

On the VC side of things, there has been a huge upswing on funding healthcare IT companies. Q2 VC activity was up 81% from 2013, and biotech, at $1.8 billion, came in second only to the software industry.

All of this, and we’re still only at the mid-way point. Stay tuned for what just might be a very interesting second half.

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