JPM24The overall deal flow in biopharma tapered off in 2023 but the big companies sure know what they want (what they really, really want), according to a new report from J.P. Morgan.

And that’s antibody-drug conjugates, which drove a fourth-quarter spike in licensing deal proceeds and provided a glimmer of hope to an industry battered by outside forces and grim financing prospects.

J.P. Morgan’s annual 2023 Biopharma Licensing and Venture Report arrived on the eve of the firm’s famous conference, which is set to welcome thousands of attendees in San Francisco today—East Coast weather permitting.

2023 was tough, but clinical biotechs still had a lot of opportunities to wheel and deal, according to J.P. Morgan. While licensing deals, venture investments, M&A and IPOs were down overall in the fourth quarter, deal values stayed fairly high thanks to a flurry of late-stage tie ups.

Biopharma licensing partnerships accounted for $63 billion in total value during the fourth quarter from 108 deals. Just one deal—Merck’s ADC partnership with Daiichi Sankyo—accounted for $22 billion of that. Another huge one was another ADC bet, with Bristol Myers Squibb signing on to work with SystImmune for a total value of $8.4 billion. If you exclude the Merck deal, the total value of these partnerships is still higher than the previous quarter, which ended with $32.1 billion.

Click here to read more via FIERCE Biotech.