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Massachusetts biopharma firms raised a record $13.7 billion in venture capital last year

The local industry continues to be a magnet for investors, despite a steep fall off in stock prices.

Kendall Square is the center of the biotech industry.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Massachusetts drug makers continued to bring in huge amounts of venture capital last year, setting a record for money raised, according to the industry trade group.

Local biopharma firms attracted $13.7 billion in 2021, up 70 percent from a year prior, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council said in a report Wednesday. The group said “the power of biopharma companies to change the course of human health through vaccines and therapeutics” is continuing to attract money.

“Biotech companies are launching every day across Massachusetts and investors want to be involved from the start,” said MassBio chief executive Joe Boncore in a statement. “Not only for potentially good returns, but also for the chance of playing a role in the creation of a breakthrough medicine.”


Cambridge startups ElevateBio and EQRx (before it went public) raised the largest funding rounds, each collecting more than $500 million, and Laronde raised $440 million. MassBio pointed out that not all of the activity was concentrated in the Cambridge cluster in and around Kendall Square; about 42 percent of the venture capital funding raised last went to companies located outside the biotech hub.

Twenty-five companies went public in Massachusetts in 2021, raising $3.8 billion. The year prior, 21 companies completed initial public offerings, raising $3.9 billion. That doesn’t mean all is well for publicly traded biotech companies, which have been taking a hit on Wall Street as part of a wider market downturn.

XBI, an index fund that tracks small and mid-sized biotechs, lost almost 43 percent in the past year. The company with the largest IPO in Massachusetts in 2021, Adagio Therapeutics, is down nearly 70 percent over the past year.

Last year, 34 local biopharma firms were acquired for nearly $63.9 billion, a figure largely carried by AstraZeneca’s $39 billion takeover of Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Twenty-eight firms were acquired in 2020 for $15.6 billion.


Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8 and on Instagram @anissagardizy.journalism.