Fieldfisher Life Sciences sector group advised on £370 million of ECM transactions in 2020

Fieldfisher’s Band 1 ranked equity capital markets team advised on approximately £370 million worth of deals within the life sciences and healthcare sector last year.

Fundraising activity in the life sciences and healthcare sector was one of the defining trends of Fieldfisher's equity capital markets deal activity last year. Vaccines, treatments, clinical vulnerability, rise of MedTech and the importance of good health and fitness were omnipresent themes running through the public conscience in 2020 and helped fuel confidence in life sciences and healthcare as a whole.

Fieldfisher's life sciences sector group was especially busy in connection with fundraisings intended to support the development of treatments in the fight against COVID-19, particularly during lockdown. For the second year in a row, Fieldfisher has been recognised as the most prolific legal adviser on AIM – ranked first by deal volume.

We acted on transactions for a variety of businesses, including those developing potential drugs to combat the virus, such as Synairgen, which has recently announced the progression of its therapeutic SNG001 to trials in the US; those involved in ventilator procurement (Inspiration Healthcare); and those developing rapid COVID-19 testing and assays (Avacta, acting for finnCap and Zeus Capital).

Across the wider firm, Fieldfisher’s expert life sciences and regulatory lawyers supported clients on a range of activities, including global clinical trials, IP protection, licensing, joint ventures and other regulatory activities.

Highlights included:
• Acted on the largest biotech fundraising on AIM for years - Synairgen's £87 million placing and open offer in order to conduct a phase III trial of their potential COVID therapeutic. We are also aiding them with their clinical trial and other regulatory work.

• Advising Panmure Gordon and Cantor Fitzgerald on secondary fundraisings of Diurnal Group plc, raising £11.2 million and £10 million.

• Diurnal develops treatments for chronic endocrine diseases (January and March 2020).

• Advising finnCap and Zeus Capital on the £48 million fundraising for Avacta and its previous £5.75 million fundraising. Avacta is developing a rapid antigen test for COVID-19 (June 2020).

• Advising Cenkos Securities on the secondary fundraising of Diaceutics plc, raising £20.5 million. Diaceutics is a leading diagnostic commercialisation business for the global pharmaceutical industry (June 2020).

• Advising Euronext Paris-listed Amplitude Surgical on the acquisition by private equity firm PAI Partners of a majority stake in Amplitude for €85 million. Amplitude Surgical is a leading French developer of surgical technology for lower-limb orthopaedics (July 2020).

• Advising Inspiration Healthcare Group PLC on its £18 million acquisition of S.L.E. Limited, a designer and manufacturer of ventilators and equipment used in neonatal intensive care, and associated £16.5 million fundraising. The deal was named AIM Transaction of the Year at the 2020 AIM Awards (July 2020).

• Advising N+1 Singer in its capacity as Nomad and sole broker to Abingdon Health plc on Abingdon’s AIM IPO. Abingdon Health is a lateral flow diagnostics company. The company raised £22 million on IPO, giving Abingdon a market capitalisation of £92 million on admission (December 2020).

Commenting on the stellar year the life sciences group has had for equity market deals, Edward Westhead, Corporate Partner, Life Sciences at Fieldfisher, said:

In a year of certainty, the life sciences sector has sprung into action to combat the Covid-19 crisis. We have been delighted to be able to play our small part supporting some of our genuinely innovative and ground-breaking clients. With a lot of healthcare businesses turning to private equity over the last few years, it has been really pleasing to see the public markets functioning so well over this period, with a large number of life sciences and healthcare business raising large sums of money quickly and efficiently without the protracted negotiations which can be involved in private fundraisings.

We saw a lot of our clients raising funds to aid the fight against COVID-19, in areas such as drug development and clinical trials, ventilator procurement, testing and assays and vaccine development and spin outs. Our corporate finance team are really lucky to be supported by our international life sciences and healthcare specialists who cover a wide range of expertise, including regulatory, intellectual property enforcement and protection, commercial and licensing and data privacy.

Our thanks goes to all our issuer clients who have involved us in their innovative and exciting businesses and to all our investment banking and corporate finance clients with whom it is always a pleasure to work with raising these funds.

New ground has been broken for the life sciences and healthcare sector and we're excited to continue working with those bringing about real change across the sector globally.

About Fieldfisher

Fieldfisher is a European law firm with market-leading practices in many of the world’s most dynamic sectors. We are an exciting, forward-thinking organisation with a particular focus on energy & natural resources, technology, finance & financial services, life sciences and media.

Fieldfisher is ranked as a Band 1 firm for Capital Markets: AIM by Chambers and Partners 2021 and a Tier 2 firm for Equity Capital Markets – Small-Mid Cap by Legal 500.

Our life sciences and healthcare group support a range of clients from leading biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical technology companies and healthcare organisations to academic institutions and entrepreneurs, offering innovative treatment solutions and undertaking ground-breaking research.

Our network has more than 1,700 people working across 25 offices providing highly commercial advice based on an in-depth understanding of our clients’ needs.

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