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Top 10 Biopharmaceutical Companies in the World? - Ranked For 2023

Ben Alger our consultant managing the role
Posted by Ben Alger
Published on 10 July 2023

Are you wondering who the best biopharmaceutical companies are?

If you are then you’re in the right place.

The pharmaceutical market has undergone significant changes in recent years, driven by a range of factors, including technological advancements, demographic shifts, changes in regulatory frameworks, and increasing pressure to control healthcare costs. 

As the life sciences sector pushes forward to improve the quality of life, we’ve taken a look at the top 10 biopharma companies that are leading the way. 

Discover how these industry frontrunners are propelling the life sciences sector forward, harnessing groundbreaking innovations, and transforming lives.

Here are the top 10 biopharmaceutical companies that we’ve ranked for 2023.

1. Pfizer

Pfizer lead the world in developing the Covid-19 vaccine but that's not all this company will go down in history for. It had a strong reputation for successfully mass-producing penicillin, the blood thinner Eliquis drug, and other Covid treatments such as Paxlovid.

Pfizer has always been a frontrunner in the biopharma science, but the company's work with BioNTech and the development of the first Covid-19 vaccine shot them to the top of the watch list. 

2. Gilead Sciences

The spotlight fell on the drug back in 2014 with the outbreak of Ebola and once again in the early months of 2020 as a treatment for coronavirus. At a time when a vaccine seemed like a distant reality, remdesivir delivered hope that the biopharma industry was winning against the virus.

Gilead Sciences is the inventor of remdesivir – an antiviral medication that was initially developed to treat hepatitis C. 

3. Roche

In 2022, the company ranked in position one for the highest pharma R&D budgets. Roche predicts that the uptake of biosimilars will be a slower trend in the US than in Europe, yet the latest figures show that North America dominates 30% of the biosimilars market

The manufacturing of these copycat drugs - which can cost less than half the price of a brand product - is largely outsourced to their Genentech labs.

Roche is a multinational healthcare organisation and is ranked as the third largest pharmaceutical company in the world, only marginally behind the giants are Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. 

4. Genentech

Though the company was acquired by Roche, its R&D centre remains a separate entity. Genentech is known as one of the earliest biotechnology pioneers and has a broad focus on cancer, neuroscience, immunology, and infectious diseases.

Proving that you don’t have to be the biggest to be the best is the independent biopharma company Genentech. 

5. Sanofi

Sanofi is a world-leading biopharmaceutical company and unique in its healthcare solutions which span right from prevention up to extended treatment. 
With a history that dates back to 1718, when a family of pharmacists founded Laboratories Midy – later acquired by Sanofi – the company has been instrumental in eradicating smallpox, polio, and diphtheria and setting high quality assurance standards.

6. UCB

Similar to Genentech, UCB is a biopharma company concentrated on severe diseases within neurology and immunology. However, what sets UCB apart from the rest is its Belgium-based headquarters. UCB has made headlines for its ambitions to transform the lives of those with life-threatening diseases.

7. Teva Pharmaceuticals

This American-Israeli biopharmaceutical company showed it meant business in 2020 when it won the ruling that could prevent any generic competition for its cancer drug - Benedeka - up until 2033.

8. Merck

Merck is another biopharma company with a history that spans several centuries. Headquartered in Germany, this company has a presence in 66 countries and though it is most notably known for delivering the first smallpox vaccine in the US, its mission has always been to improve the health and wellbeing of both humans and animals. Though often overshadowed by human healthcare, the global animal pharmaceutical market is projected to be worth $84.98 billion by 2030.

9. Biogen

With a focus on neurology, this biopharma company has made itself known for its commitment to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and a treatment looks within reach. More broadly, Biogen has demonstrated a focus on pharmacovigilance and epidemiology.

10. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

GSK is no stranger to making headlines in the pharmaceutical market but in 2017 the news that broke took a different tone. Stories that circulated were celebrating women in life sciences and more specifically Emma Walmsley, who earnt the title of Big Pharma’s first female CEO. The manufacturing giant is known both for its consumer healthcare products, such as Aquafresh toothpaste, and the two million vaccinations it produces daily. 

Find a job where you can make a difference

At Quanta, we unite people with life-changing industries, and few industries have the same level of impact on people’s lives than life sciences. 

We work with eight out of the top 10 biopharmaceutical companies across 30 countries worldwide and we’re proud to be supporting people developing their careers in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device markets. 

View our life sciences jobs and pharmaceutical vacanices. Or alternatively, create a job alert to be kept up to date with the latest vacancies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the Big 5 in biopharma?

The term "Big 5" in pharma refers to the five largest pharmaceutical companies globally based on various factors such as revenue, market capitalisation, and research and development investment. 

However, it's important to note that the composition of the Big 5 may change over time due to mergers, acquisitions, and other market dynamics.

What is the biggest biopharma company in the world?

The title of the "biggest" biopharmaceutical company globally can vary depending on the metric used for evaluation, such as revenue, market capitalisation, or total assets. 

In recent years, some of the largest biopharmaceutical companies globally have included Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer Inc., and Roche Holding AG. 

However, it's worth noting that rankings can change, and the exact positioning may differ based on the specific metric used or the current market conditions.

What are the top pharma companies in England?

Some of the top biopharmaceutical companies in England include GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), AstraZeneca, Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), Novartis UK, and Eli Lilly and Company. 

These companies have a significant presence and contribute to the biopharmaceutical industry in England. 

However, it's important to consider that the rankings and composition of top biopharma companies may change over time due to various factors such as mergers, acquisitions, and industry developments.

What are the big 3 pharmaceuticals?

The term "big 3 pharmaceuticals" doesn't have a universally recognised meaning. 

It is sometimes used to refer to three large biopharmaceutical companies, but the specific companies mentioned can vary depending on the context and timeframe. 

The biopharmaceutical industry is dynamic, and the landscape can change due to mergers, acquisitions, and other market dynamics. 

Therefore, it's essential to refer to the most up-to-date information and industry reports to determine the current "big 3" in the pharmaceutical sector.

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