Home Knowledge M&A Review 2022 through the Life Sciences Lens

M&A Review 2022 through the Life Sciences Lens

Ireland was not immune to the headwinds buffeting the global economy in 2022.

Rising interest rates, persistently high inflation, slower growth in Western markets, war in Ukraine and global supply chain disruption all presented significant challenges. However, Ireland appears to be weathering the storm more comfortably than many other countries. Strong export performance has been critical to this success, particularly in “knowledge economy” sectors such as pharmaceuticals.

We took a look at how the Irish economy fared last year from a Life Sciences perspective.

Overall Market Performance

Ireland’s economy continued to outperform during 2022, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimating that Irish GDP grew 9.0%, well ahead of the European Union as a whole, which managed just 3.2%.1. And while the IMF expects growth to slow in 2023, it is still predicting a 4.0% expansion in Ireland, compared to just 0.7% across the EU. Even allowing for the distortive effects of multinational output on Ireland’s GDP numbers, these are comparatively strong figures.

M&A activity in Ireland remained strong in 2022. While the bumper year of 2021 was anomalous and so difficult to match – reflecting, at least in part, a post-pandemic catch-up – data for 2022 is strong, (and broadly consistent with 2019 and 2020), despite something of a slowdown in the second half of the year. As in previous years, the mid-market was dominant again in 2022, with 86% of deals in Ireland worth between €5m and €250m.

Looking at private equity activity, in line with overall M&A, PE activity failed to maintain the exceptional levels of 2021, with deal volumes and values falling by 19% and 76% respectively, year-on-year. Set against pre-pandemic trends, however, the 2022 numbers were still healthy.

How did the Life Sciences Sector Perform?

Our 2022 M&A Review highlights the continued prominence of the pharmaceutical, medical and biotechnology industries, which accounted for 12% of deals by volume last year as Ireland’s reputation for innovation in drug discovery and development continues to attract attention. Some 120 international companies now have plants in Ireland, including nine of the ten largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

The year ended with the announcement of Amgen’s recommended takeover of Horizon Therapeutics plc in a US$28bn “mega-deal”, which is expected to close in H1 of this year. Though the value and volume of M&A in this sector was lower in 2022 than in 2021, deals such as this point to signs of continued positive activity in 2023.

Further Insights

For a more in-depth analysis of the Irish M&A Market in 2022, please click here or on the image below to download our full report.


Contributed by Louise Murray, Conor Hurley