While the study of the human genome dates back decades, moving from an understanding of the proteins that carry out some of the basic functions of life to developing and manufacturing drugs targeting serious diseases is a very recent achievement.
Founded in 1992 on the back of the genomic revolution, Human Genome Sciences (HGS) initially focused on the discovery and sequencing of genes associated with diseases that resulted from an excess or deficiency of a specific protein in the body. HGS then added the preclinical, drug development, manufacturing and distribution capabilities to turn its basic research into therapies, and bring those therapies to patients.
Goldman Sachs has worked with HGS for many years, helping the company grow, and developing a financing strategy to fund the late-stage clinical development and commercial launch of HGS’ drugs.
Developing Drugs: A Capital-Intensive Proposition
Developing drugs requires a lot of capital: on average, more than a billion dollars and 12 to 15 years from discovery all the way to commercialization. Having a funding strategy is critically important.
Goldman Sachs, as joint lead manager, helped HGS with two common stock offerings in 2009, the first for $373.8 million, and the second for $476.8 million, enabling HGS to continue to fund the development of its existing and future pipeline and the manufacturing and commercialization of its products.
Recently, HGS launched its first major product and became a fully commercial biopharmaceutical company. Manufacturing is a core competency at HGS and represents a significant strategic advantage. HGS has two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Maryland, totaling approximately 400,000 square feet and offering both small-scale and large-scale production capabilities. These very specialized facilities require absolute control of the manufacturing environment in order to isolate, purify and mass produce biological products on a commercial scale. The financing requirements are significant.
HGS is part of the biotech focus in Maryland, supporting the local economy
The biotechnology industry in Maryland is robust. There are more than 500 biotech companies in the state, from startups to public companies, comprising more than 71,000 workers. The life sciences industry contributes about $17.6B to Maryland annually, or 6% of the state’s GDP. This has resulted in not only higher salaries and better benefits for employees but also in better job prospects for the pipeline of PhDs coming out of the region’s universities.
Life sciences accounted for one third of all Maryland’s job gains between 2002 and 2010. Recognizing this impact on the economic growth in Maryland, Governor O’Malley has spearheaded a number of strategic investments in Maryland’s bioscience industry, creating the Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board in 2007, and in 2009 launching BioMaryland 2020, a 10-year, $1.3 billion initiative for advancing Maryland’s bioscience industry.
HGS has been an active member of the life sciences community, with H. Thomas Watkins, its President and CEO, serving as Chair of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and Chair of the Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board, which is tasked with developing a comprehensive strategic plan for Maryland’s life sciences industry. In addition, HGS has partnered with academic institutions in the local community such as Montgomery College in Germantown to help shape a curriculum to prepare students for the biotechnology industry. In addition to assisting with the curriculum, HGS has also donated specialized equipment as well as provided scholarship money, investing in a robust pipeline of future biotech workers.
Source for all stats and figures: Maryland Biotechnology Center
Goldman Sachs’ Global Healthcare Investment Banking Group provides strategic advice and financial services to leading healthcare companies around the world, including biotechnology, life sciences, medical technology and pharmaceuticals, helping them with many types of transactions including initial public offerings, risk management, equity and debt underwriting, and mergers and acquisitions, to meet their needs.