In this article we are going to list the 15 largest biotech companies in the world. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 largest biotech companies in the world.
Biotech seems to be a term where you might think that they are using biology to develop weapons or some other high tech product. But actually, it is simply the use of biology to develop technology which is then used to improve the health of both the people and the planet. Some of the aims and achievements of biotechnology companies include reducing the rates of infectious diseases, providing tailored or specific treatments to individuals to reduced any risks of health as well as side effects, making better tools which can detect diseases early on to minimize health risks, saving the lives of millions of children and providing better treatment and quality of life to those afflicted by serious diseases.
You might then be wondering what is the difference between a pure pharmaceutical company and a biotech company. Well, any company that uses either live organisms or their products, which can include enzymes or bacteria for the production of drugs is considered to be a biotech company. On the other hand, pure pharmaceutical companies only use chemicals for the production of drugs and medicine. Most companies however, are a hybrid of both, and use both live organisms and chemicals for the manufacture of various drugs. While it would be easier if we could obtain separate information regarding their biotechnology portfolio, that is generally not the case and hence, the overall size of the company has to be considered instead.
While biotech and biopharma companies have been important throughout their existence and the existence of this industry to improve the standard of living, and fight against the myriad diseases present in the world, 2020 is perhaps their greatest test yet. After all, when the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic hit, the pharma industry wasn’t as regulated or developed as it is now. Most of the biggest biotech companies weren’t even in existence then, and that may be one of the reasons why tens of millions of people across the world perished. Not to say that we’re doing any better in the current pandemic, which has gripped the world with nearly 47 million cases and over 1.2 million deaths. While the situation seemed to be getting slightly better in previous months, the second wave has roared again and daily cases are at an all time high for many countries, while deaths are steadily increasing as well.
In the midst of all this uncertainty, pressure and lockdowns, biotech companies are racing against the clock to come up with a vaccine that can fight against the coronavirus and hopefully eventually end this pandemic and allow things to return to normal. However, finding a vaccine can take years easily while we can seldom afford such time for the discovery of a cure. This is why billions are being paid to various pharma companies such as GSK, Johnson and Johnson, Novavax and AstraZeneca, with the total payments exceeding $10 billion in the US alone. This is before any vaccine has even been developed, so you can imagine the windfall that the first company to develop a working vaccine can expect to benefit from. Only time will tell which company will manage that, and whether all the recent technological advancements will help rid the world of the worst pandemic in over a century.
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To determine the biggest biotech companies in the world, we considered two premier metrics, namely their market cap and their revenue. The market cap is literally the value of the company and an indicator of its size, as it shows the market value of any publicly traded company. The greater the market cap, the greater the value of the company. Revenue of course is another major indicator as it basically indicates the market share that the company has, which in turn also exemplifies the size of the company and its reach in the market. Hence, we used these two indicators assigning 60% weightage to market capitalization and 40% weightage to the revenue earned by each company. These companies are not only huge in size but are also quite profitable, which is why you will also see some names in the list of 10 most profitable companies in the world. Till then, let’s take a look at some of the likeliest candidates for the production of a new vaccine, starting off with number 15:
15. Sanofi (NYSE:SNY)
Sanofi is a French pharmaceutical company and is headquartered in Paris. It was formed initially in 1973, before becoming Sanofi Aventis in 2004, with the merger of Aventis and Sanofi-Synthélabo. In 2011, the company changed its name to just Sanofi, and is also the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. This is why the US has agreed to pay Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline $2.1 billion for an initial 100 million doses of a vaccine they are jointly working on, while the UK has also secured a potential 60 million doses from these two companies if their campaign is successful.