What are the top biotech companies? The following five stocks have market capitalizations worth billions of dollars and operate in countries all around the globe.
Plus, these big-name biotech players have pipelines stuffed with potentially disruptive products — and enough revenue to recover should some of those products fail.
This means that investors can experience the excitement of biotech investing while minimizing risk. Although returns are never guaranteed, company size can and does insulate investors from volatility.
Top biotech companies to consider
So if you’re feeling skittish, take heart: You’re not without options — these top biotech companies below may be good bets. This list was compiled using Investing.com’s stock screener and companies are listed in order of market cap size. All numbers were current as of June 9, 2021.
1. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)
Market capitalization: US$430.32 billion
Starting off this list of the top biotech companies is Johnson & Johnson, a holding company focused on the overarching life science field. Life science companies often specify their focus, but thanks to its massive scale, Johnson & Johnson covers many areas through its subsidiaries.
Johnson & Johnson’s treatment focus is on six therapeutic areas: cardiovascular disease and metabolism, infectious diseases and vaccines, neuroscience, oncology, immunology and pulmonary hypertension. The company’s pharmaceutical pipeline includes 14 novel drug launches expected by the end of 2023. The most notable drug coming down the pike is focused on multiple myeloma; it is a CAR-T therapy called cilta-cel and is a joint venture with Legend Biotech (NASDAQ:LEGN).
Johnson & Johnson-owned Janssen Pharmaceuticals is the maker of one of the big four COVID-19 vaccines on the market. The single-shot vaccine received emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in late February 2021. While the Janssen vaccine is considered 66 percent effective in preventing coronavirus infections, reported incidences of rare but potentially fatal blood clots led to the FDA halting its use until more research could be conducted.
In late April 2021, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control gave approval for Janssen vaccine use to resume. Johnson & Johnson plans to file for a biologics license application with the FDA later in 2021.
2. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)
Market capitalization: US$217.41 billion
New York-based multinational biopharmaceutical company Pfizer is one of the most recognized names in medicine around the world. For more than 150 years, the firm has developed a global portfolio of medicines and vaccines, including many of the world’s best-known consumer healthcare products.
Like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer also charged headfirst into the fray in the fight against COVID-19. The company and its partner BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) have developed what has become the most sought after of the coronavirus vaccines for both its safety and efficacy.
In June 2021, the FDA granted approval for another Pfizer-developed vaccine, this time for a conjugate vaccine known as PREVNAR 20 that helps protect against 20 serotypes responsible for the majority of invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumonia.
3. Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY)
Market capitalization: US$211.66 billion
Founded in 1876 and headquartered in Indianapolis, Eli Lilly and Company develops products for human and animal health. The company’s human pharmaceutical products include therapies for endocrinology, neuroscience, oncology, immunology and cardiovascular disorders.
Eli Lilly has research and development facilities and manufacturing plans in eight countries and has done clinical research in over 50 countries.
The pharma giant has signed some large deals with biotech partners this year. In January 2021, Eli Lilly inked a US$300 million seed funding agreement with San Diego-based biotech firm Blacksmith Medicines. The agreement includes a research collaboration between the two companies and is aimed at advancing human metalloenzyme targets.
In May 2021, Eli Lily signed a US$1.5 billion deal with London biotech firm MiNA Therapeutics to develop several novel drug candidates using MiNA’s proprietary RNA technology platform.
4. AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV)
Market capitalization: US$198.38 billion
This biopharmaceutical company is one of the most well-known organizations in the industry. AbbVie’s operations are spread throughout 75 countries and its products are sold in over 170 nations. The Chicago-based company aims to treat a range of diseases in five key areas.
The company’s treatment areas include: virology, which includes hepatitis C and HIV; neurodegenerative diseases, such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis; immunology, including spondyloarthropathies, hidradenitis suppurativa and uveitis; oncology, which is the treatment of cancer; and general medicine, which includes women’s health.
In May 2020, AbbVie completed its acquisition of Allergan in a staggering US$63 billion blockbuster deal. In May 2021, AbbVie received European Commission approval for ENCLYXTO in combination with a hypomethylating agent for the treatment of adult patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia who are ineligible for intensive chemotherapy.
The following month, Health Canada granted approval for the company’s RINVOQ, an oral, once daily, selective and reversible JAK inhibitor for adults with active psoriatic arthritis who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to methotrexate or other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.
5. Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO)
Market capitalization: US$186.34 billion
Founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is most focused on diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders. The company’s operations span 80 countries and it markets products in around 170 countries.
Novo Nordisk acquired Corvidia Therapeutics for US$2.1 billion in 2020, adding ziltivekimab, an antibody under development for reducing the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in patients with chronic kidney disease and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Further adding to its cardiovascular pipeline, the company signed a deal in May 2021 with Japanese biotech company Heartseed to develop an investigational cell therapy that uses purified cardiomyocytes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells for the treatment of heart failure caused by ischaemic heart disease.
Novo Nordisk also has a clinical collaboration with Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) to study the safety and efficacy of Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist, and a fixed-dose combination of Gilead’s investigational FXR agonist cilofexor and investigational ACC inhibitor firsocostat, both alone and in combination in people with compensated cirrhosis due non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.
This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2016.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
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