Press Release February 16, 2022

Goodwin Releases Sixth Annual Year in Review: Securities Litigation Against Life Sciences Companies

February 16, 2022 — Global law firm Goodwin today announced the release of its sixth Year in Review: Securities Litigation Against Life Sciences Companies. Produced by the firm’s Securities & Shareholder Litigation practice, the in-depth report analyzes data concerning securities class actions filed nationally against publicly traded pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and healthcare product and services companies (together, “life sciences companies”) and summarizes the most impactful decisions issued by courts within life sciences epicenters in 2021.

“While the number of securities class action filings across all industries dropped dramatically in 2021, the number of such cases filed against life sciences companies actually increased this year, with the greatest increase in cases filed against biotechnology companies in particular,” said Caroline Bullerjahn, Goodwin partner and co-author of the report. “Federal courts in jurisdictions most active in the life sciences industry issued several important decisions in 2021, signaling trends that companies and their directors and officers should consider when making disclosure decisions in the year ahead.”

The report’s key findings include:

  • Overall Filing Volume Drops. For the first time in many years, in 2021, the number of new securities class action filings in federal and state courts dropped precipitously, falling from 333 actions in 2020 to 218 filings in 2021—a 35% drop and below the 1997-2020 average of 228 actions.
  • Life Sciences Industry Continues to be a Target. Despite the drop in overall class action flings, the life sciences industry continued to be the primary target of the plaintiffs’ bar in 2021, with the total number of filings against life sciences companies increasing in 2021 over 2020.
  • SPAC-Related Litigation on the Rise. Given the enormous volume of SPAC IPOs and transactions over the last two or so years, “core” class action filings related to SPACs not surprisingly increased more than sixfold from 2020 to 2021.
  • COVID-19 Cases Begin To Drop. There were a notable number of class actions filings related to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, although the number of COVID-related cases dropped significantly in the second half of 2021.

To view the full analysis, download the report.

Goodwin’s Securities + Shareholder Litigation practice handles high stakes securities class actions, shareholder derivative litigation, M&A litigation, and private equity and portfolio company litigation. The practice is highly ranked in leading industry publications including The Legal 500, Chambers, and US News — Best Lawyers®. U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ 2022 edition named Goodwin the Biotechnology Law Firm of the Year for the seventh time in the last eight years. LMG Life Sciences named Goodwin Firm of the Year in the corporate and intellectual property categories, and distinguished Goodwin as a lifecycle firm, denoting rankings across all practice categories.