The quest for innovation continues

Life sciences M&A trends in Q3’21

Steve Sapletal

Steve Sapletal

Principal, National Life Sciences Advisory Leader, KPMG US

+1 612-708-2556

Kristin C. Pothier

Kristin C. Pothier

Global & National, HCLS Deal Advisory & Strategy Leader, KPMG US

+1 617 549 2779

Jeff Stoll, PhD

Jeff Stoll, PhD

Principal, National Strategy Life Sciences Leader, KPMG US

+1 857-334-8768

Jeffry Whitcomb

Jeffry Whitcomb

Managing Director, Healthcare and Life Sciences Strategy, KPMG US

+1 813-301-2121

Deal making in life sciences held steady in Q3’21 but was still on track to surpass 2020’s record performance.

Life sciences companies continue to pursue access to innovation through M&A. There were fewer megadeals, but there has been a steady flow of smaller transactions, including partnerships and minority investments. Large biopharma companies are divesting slow-growth assets to fund investments in faster-growth areas such as cell and gene therapy and mRNA. (Please see the interactive charts below for key statistics.)

In this Q3’21 analysis of deals in life sciences, we find:

  • Deal making continues to be shaped by the effects of the pandemic. Companies that experienced windfall profits from testing and vaccination are on the hunt.
  • Pharma wraparound services have been a hotbed of deal activity as companies position themselves for the future.
  • Cell and gene therapies continue to be a favored target—and the acquirers increasingly include players not formerly associated with such cutting-edge technologies.

LS overall Deal Volume and Deal Value

Biopharmaceuticals Deal Volume and Deal Value


Devices Deal Volume and Deal Value

Diagnostics Deal Volume and Deal Value


Health Care Distributors Deal Volume and Deal Value

Life Sciences Tools, Services Deal Volume and Deal Value


Looking ahead, we expect more of the same through yearend, but there are also reasons to believe deal making in life sciences could slow further. Many companies are leery of the FTC’s new focus on pharma deals. And there is always execution risk. Acquirers, especially of early-stage innovation targets, need to focus on making the science succeed and dealing with complex integration challenges.

In this quarterly report, we unpack these trends as well as provide deep dives on two key areas:

Download the full report to uncover what is happening in these dynamic industries, how deals are being done today—and why.

The quest for innovation continues
M&A Trends in HCLS, Q3 21 | Download PDF