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Are SPACs Good Or Bad For Biopharma?

Executive Summary

Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) homed in on the biopharma industry in 2020, providing biotech companies with a faster and looser route to the public market. Is there a downside?

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SPACs Surge In 2020

Despite the COVID-19 chaos felt by many industries in 2020, biopharma IPOs recorded a banner year – including a marked rise in the use of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), also known as blank check companies. 

The Growing GLP-1 Therapy Market

Novo Nordisk was not the first biopharmaceutical company to launch a GLP-1 therapy into the market for type 2 diabetes. In fact, Amylin Pharmaceutials’ and Eli Lilly’s Byetta (exenatide) beat Novo’s Victoza (liraglutide) to market by a full five years.  

Brand Spotlight: Novo Nordisk’s Semaglutide

Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide, a GLP-1 agonist marketed in an injected formulation as Ozempic, and an oral tablet form as Rybelsus, is a success story with the potential for an epic third act. First approved as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, semaglutide is under FDA review as a treatment for obesity, with additional clinical programs in NASH and Alzheimer’s disease. 

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