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For biotech companies, 2020 could have been a lot worse than it was, all things considered. More than most other businesses, small, early-stage biotech startups were better placed to dodge some of the pandemic’s immediate consequences.

When state governments issued stay-at-home orders, many declared that biotech scientists and technicians were essential workers and could continue to go into their labs. Companies that had yet to start clinical trials didn’t need to pause them. And dozens of biotech companies that went public in 2020 found surprisingly welcoming markets for their stocks.

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