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Experts are predicting a coming surge of mergers and acquisitions in biotech. And if history is any indicator, early-stage startups will be even more tempting targets than normal.

The last time there was a big wave of biotech acquisitions, buyers snapped up early-stage companies much more often than they did during other periods, according to a new STAT analysis of the timing of more than 250 acquisitions in biotech, spanning from 2000 to 2021. Almost a quarter of the companies acquired in the last surge, between 2013 and 2018, had yet to begin a Phase 2 trial. In other years, such early-stage companies made up just 10% of acquisitions.

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