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In brief

Understanding the shift

Four growth pathways

1. Builder

Biopharma’s traditional way of bolstering pipeline assets by bolting on late-stage acquisitions.

2. Architect

Early-stage asset acquisitions—often with a biotechnology platform (bio-platform)—that enable companies to expand their pipeline across therapeutic areas.

3. Ecosystem

Acquisition of know-how and capabilities to innovate faster or reach customers in a new way i.e., through analytics, AI, new devices, etc.

4. Controller

Geographic expansion or vertical integration i.e., growth markets, control supply, or points of sales.


of all deals over the past 10 years were Builder and Architect pathways, but the traditional Builder pathways approach is becoming less appealing.


increase in Architect pathways over the past five years compared to the previous five year period.


of the total volume of M&A deals focus on Ecosystem pathways.


of deals focus on geographic expansion or vertical integration (Controller pathways).

Deals announced early in 2022 support our predictions. Sanofi’s collaboration with Exscientia, an AI-drug discovery company, is an example of the Ecosystem pathway whereas Pfizer’s with Beam Therapeutics is an example of the Architect pathway.

Where does the analysis take us?

About the Authors

Petra Jantzer, Ph.D.

Senior Managing Director – Global Life Sciences Lead

Stuart Henderson

Market Unit Lead – US Northeast


Senior Principal – Life Sciences, Research Global Lead


Global Life Sciences Strategy Lead

Austin Corbett

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions

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