Global healthcare VC funding had its strongest showing in Q1 since Q3 2018, but saw deal counts continue to decline and activity in Europe and Asia drop dramatically.
More than $14.62 billion was invested across 1,156 deals in the healthcare sector in Q1, according to data from CB Insights. Funding levels are up 4 percent from Q4 2019, when $14 billion was invested across 1,228 deals. Deals have declined quarter-over-quarter since Q2 2019.
Early stage saw the most activity in Q1, with seed through Series A companies comprising 46 percent of the volume, or about 531 transactions.
North America made up 70 percent, $10.3 billion, of healthcare funding during Q1. The region saw a 35 percent increase in funding compared to Q4 2019 when $7.65 billion was invested. In comparison, Europe and Asia saw sharp declines in funding to the sector.
Asia saw a 42 percent decline in Q1 compared to Q4. More than $4.1 billion was invested in Q4, which dropped to $2.4 billion in Q1. China saw the sharpest deal decline of any country with a 38 percent drop in transactions from 163 in Q4 to 100 in Q1. Europe saw a nearly 29 percent decline from Q4, $2.08 billion to Q1, $1.4 billion.
The five largest healthcare deals during the quarter all involved US-based companies.
Lyell Immunopharma grabbed a $493 million round from undisclosed investors in March. Also in March, Retina Consultants of America closed on $350 million from Webster Equity Partners.
In January, Alto Pharmacy raised $250 million from investors like Greenoaks Capital Management, Jackson Square Ventures, Olive Tree capital, SoftBank Group and Zola Global Investors.
Within healthcare, mental health and wellness saw the biggest funding boost quarter over quarter. The sector grew 5x from the $115 million invested across 37 deals in Q4 to the $576 million across 44 deals invested in Q1.
Telehealth and women’s health also showed strong growth in Q1. Telehealth saw $1.5 billion invested across 103 deals during the quarter. This marks an 3.79x increase from Q4 when $418 million was invested across 51 deals. Women’s health start-ups saw more than $361 million invested across 31 deals in Q1 compared to $144 million across 32 deals in Q4.
AI, regenerative medicine and medical devices all also saw an increase in funding and deal count.
Digital health was the only sector that saw a decline. The sector was down 50 percent quarter over quarter in Q1. More than $318 million was invested across 27 deals in Q1 compared to $659 million across 55 deals in Q4.