Emerging trends and new technologies, like artificial intelligence, precision medicine, and robotics, are disrupting the pharmaceutical industry.

The industry is experiencing a greater emphasis on prevention rather than cure, with the patient at the center. Preparing for the future will require reimagining business models, by embracing digital health, renewing systems, and ensuring that employees and citizens alike are equipped to make the most of shifts in the delivery of healthcare.

As the resiliency of the Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences (PLS) is once again tested by the Covid-19 pandemic, investors rely on its varied sub-sectors, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology (biotech) and medical devices, to diversify risks and get around the economic challenges.

The interest in biotech companies and divestitures of non-core assets, which were driving mergers and acquisitions (M&A) before the pandemic, remains largely unchanged. Even when companies stopped their deals due to the shutdowns, investors saw it as a temporary trend that was going to overturn.

In this scenario, M&A activity will improve in the PLS industry, driven by its strong fundamentals, as predicted by the consulting company PwC.

The trend will be stronger in companies directly involved in tackling the spread of Covid-19, such as those carrying out vaccine development, pills, and diagnosis, as well as merging among manufacturers of medical devices.

Additionally, mid-size biotech companies, such as cell and gene therapy, next-generation biologics, and oncology, will continue to attract interest from big pharma. Research and development (R&D) and technical expertise will be key drivers, according to PwC.

Coyol Free Zone (CFZ) joined this global trend, with the announcement of Bayer’s new pharmaceutical plant to produce long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as hormonal implants and intrauterine systems (IUS), in Coyol, Alajuela, Costa Rica. The company is expected to invest US$ 200 million to begin production in 2024.

Companies from the PLS sector in Costa Rica have evolved from manufacturing and assembling, to R&D and production of medical devices. Investments more oriented to take benefit from the highly skilled human talent available are expected, as the country works to bring higher education closer to companies.

The hotspots for Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences

The following areas are expected to be M&A hotspots in the PLS sector:

  • Mid-size biotech companies, such as cell and gene therapy, oncology, and next-generation biologics, will continue to attract interest from big pharma. 
  • Medical devices, vaccines, therapies, and diagnostics connected to pandemic response and future preparedness, are expected to have attractive value creation stories and become targets for acquisitions and tie-ups.
  • Acquisitions that PLS companies can integrate to pivot their business models towards more digital delivery should see strong interest.
  • Specialist drug discovery companies should continue to receive interest from strategic buyers, reshaping their R&D and innovative drug development portfolios.


“The arrival of Bayer, with its new pharmaceutical plant in Coyol, points out the way where the Life Sciences industry is going,” stated Carlos Wong, Managing Director of CFZ.

Source: PwC