Top 5 Most Influential Biotech Companies


March 1, 2024

Biotech firms play a pivotal role in shaping their business landscape, influencing a wide range of stakeholders including patients, healthcare professionals, and policymakers. These influential biotech companies are recognised for their critical contributions to public health, especially during global health crises, and for introducing groundbreaking changes to the pharmaceutical development model. This discussion delves into how such organisations make a significant and enduring impact, from earning external admiration for their innovations and social contributions to internal praise for fostering exceptional workplace environments.

The 2022 EY Beyond Borders: Biotechnology Report, analysing the performance of the biotech sector in the U.S. and Europe, highlighted the industry’s remarkable success in 2021, partly fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, BioNTech and Moderna, leaders in mRNA COVID-19 vaccine technology, emerged as top revenue contributors, bringing in over US$40 billion combined in 2021 after ascending to commercial prominence the previous year. The report anticipates sustained growth in the sector, with a forecasted doubling of COVID-19 related vaccine and therapeutic spending by 2026.

Among the leaders in the biotech industry, especially within the realms of COVID-19 solutions, biopharmaceutical innovations, market valuation, and clinical as well as technological advancements, the following organisations stand out as the most influential biotech companies globally.

1. BioNTech

Established in 2008 by a team of scientists and doctors, BioNTech focuses on transforming scientific discoveries into lifesaving treatments through comprehensive research and operational prowess. It pledges to ensure fair access to its healthcare solutions. In 2020, BioNTech utilised its pioneering mRNA technology to create Comirnaty, marking the first-ever mRNA-based medicine approved for human use, achieving two significant milestones: becoming the quickest developed vaccine for a novel pathogen in medical history and the fastest-selling pharmaceutical product. Sales of Comirnaty skyrocketed from US$150 million in 2020 to US$36.9 billion in 2021. BioNTech has forged partnerships with major industry players like Genmab, Sanofi, Genentech, Regeneron, Genevant, Fosun Pharma, and Pfizer, and operates in various global locations including Singapore, Shanghai, Taiwan, and Melbourne. The company is broadening its international reach by building mRNA vaccine production sites in Singapore and Rwanda and establishing a clinical trial centre in Taiwan.

2. Moderna, Inc.

Originating from Cambridge, Moderna was established in 2010 and is renowned for developing a cutting-edge mRNA technology platform. Evolving from a company focused on mRNA research to a significant player with a varied clinical portfolio that includes vaccines and therapies across seven different modalities, Moderna boasts a comprehensive intellectual property collection, especially in mRNA and lipid nanoparticle formulation. With an integrated manufacturing facility, Moderna is equipped for swift production on both clinical and commercial scales. The company, employing over 3,900 staff, is dedicated to making a profound impact through mRNA-based medicines. Following BioNTech’s footsteps, Moderna was granted emergency use authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020, leading to US$17.7 billion in vaccine sales in 2021. In 2022, Moderna was named the top employer in BioSpace’s 2023 Best Places to Work in Biopharma report.

Abstract Biotech

3. Johnson & Johnson (J&J)

Johnson & Johnson is the most broadly based healthcare company globally, with a global footprint and a history of over 135 years. J&J posted US$94.9 billion in revenue, US$19.8 billion in profits, and a market capitalization of US$477.4 billion as of April 20, 2022. The company is heavily involved and invested in enabling complex clinical care delivery solutions. The 2022 Forbes Global 2000 published in May 2022 ranked the world’s largest public companies, with J&J being the highest-ranked pharmaceutical company. In the same year, J&J was listed in Fortune’s Top 50 All-Star on its World’s Most Admired Companies list and topped the pharmaceutical industry list for its 9th consecutive year. Companies were rated on nine criteria: investment value, quality of the organisation’s management and products, social responsibility, and the ability to attract talent. In the 2022 Access to Medicine Index, which measures a company’s effort to expand access to medicines worldwide, J&J ranked second globally. Of the more than 140,000 J&J employees across the globe, 40,000 are part of Janssen, the pharmaceutical company of J&J.

4. BridgeBio Pharma

Established in 2015, BridgeBio Pharma has focused on developing groundbreaking treatments for genetically well-defined diseases, earning a spot among Fast Company’s top 10 most innovative companies of 2022. This recognition highlights BridgeBio’s significant contributions to healthcare through its innovative approach to medical devices, medicines, therapeutics, and consumer goods. Distinctively, BridgeBio has revolutionised the drug development landscape with its “portfolio model,” diverging from traditional models that concentrate on a single technology or biological pathway. Instead, BridgeBio’s portfolio managers oversee a collection of companies, each working on different technologies and diseases, bringing new investment strategies, team motivation, and innovation pipeline shaping. This model allows for specialised subsidiaries, each focusing on specific drug programs, with portfolio managers guiding investment and management. Remarkably, in 2021, BridgeBio Pharma received two FDA approvals for new drugs, positioning it as the smallest company to achieve more than one approval in a year, alongside pharmaceutical giants like Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and Janssen Pharmaceutical.

5. AbbVie

In 2022, AbbVie climbed to the 5th position on Forbes’ list of the World’s Largest Healthcare Companies, boasting a market value of US$273.8 billion, despite not having any COVID-19-related offerings. It achieved the second-highest global sales in 2021. Additionally, Fortune named AbbVie one of the Best Workplaces in Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals for 2022, highlighting the company’s outstanding employee experience characterised by trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. According to a survey, 83% of AbbVie’s workforce considers it an excellent place to work, significantly higher than the 57% average for U.S. companies. Furthermore, 89% of the employees felt welcomed upon joining, 89% expressed pride in the company’s achievements, and 92% appreciate AbbVie’s community contributions. Established in 2013, AbbVie employs 49,000 people across 30 locations globally.

Abstract Medicine

Published on 01-03-2024