A report examining the European venture landscape for health and biotech firms over the first half of 2017 has found that there is a continuing positive environment for venture funding and M&A in the sector.

Silicon Valley Banks’ European Trends in Healthcare Investments and Exits Report (H1 2017) report says that, dominated by biopharma, European healthcare investing looks set for another year of $2 billion in investment across fewer deals, with round sizes continuing to increase.

Meanwhile, technology investors have moved beyond ‘tentatively looking’ at digital health and are actively investing into new and developing prepositions – the success of companies like Babylon, Ieso, Exscientia and Benevolent are fuelling strong interest in applied AI and machine learning.

The report adds that the environment for raising funds continues to be strong, and that the proposed merger of IP and Touchstone will create some uncertainty with respect to strategy and portfolio allocation from two of the biggest investors in the market, both also backed by the largest European crossover investors (Invesco and Woodford).

M&A also continues to be strong, although J&J's acquisition of Actelion and Boehringer's purchase of Merial – which together amounted to $43 billion, a number on its own exceeding the full year of 2016 – naturally skewed the H1 figures towards the larger end.