The top biotech companies in the world are saving millions of lives daily with their inventions and discoveries. With science advancing rapidly, the biotech industry offers some of the most profitable opportunities. Reading about the top performers allows you to learn from the best to build more effective strategies, identify upcoming trends, and refine your operational models.

Here at Business2Community, we are experts in guiding investors, business owners, and ambitious entrepreneurs in making smarter business decisions. In this list of the top biotech companies in the world, we have gathered data from reliable sources to reveal how these industry leaders make it to the top.

The World’s Biggest Biotech Companies

In 2023, the global biotechnology industry was valued at $1.38 trillion. The number is set to exceed $4 trillion by 2033, showcasing a CAGR of 11.8% during this period.

The bio-pharmacy segment accounted for 41.73% of the total value in the industry, illustrating a huge demand for medicines and therapeutic treatments.

biotech market size

After analyzing data from numerous reliable reports, we have compiled this list of the top biotech firms in the world by market capitalization so you can better understand the opportunities in this sector.

1. Eli Lilly – $717.58 Billion

Eli Lilly takes home the title of the world’s best company in the biotechnology industry, as well as the world’s 10th best company, with a market cap of $717.58 billion in March 2024. Founded in 1876, the century-old biotech company focuses on drug development and scientific research in areas like Alzheimer’s, cancer, immuno oncology, and diabetes.

On average, the Indiana-based company invests around $2.6 billion and 10 years to develop a new drug.

As one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Eli Lilly has developed many life-changing drugs for patients. It created Fluoxetine, under the brand name Prozac, in 1987 as an anti-depressant. The medicine remained on the World Health Organisation’s Model List of Essential Medicines as of 2023. While it has a relatively impressive umbrella of drugs under its belt, a large portion of revenue comes from its diabetes medications, Trulicity and Mounjaro.

The two drugs brought in a sales volume of $12 billion in 2023 by themselves.

In the fourth quarter of 2023 alone, the company generated $9.35 billion in revenue. Its total gross profit for the year was $34 billion with a $4.52 per share dividend to shareholders. The US pharmaceutical company expects sales to further grow to around $40 billion in 2024.

Company Name Eli Lilly
Headquartered In Indianapolis, Indiana, US
Market Cap $717.58 billion
Founded In 1876

2. Novo Nordisk – $603.55 Billion

Nordisk Insulinlaboratorium, which was founded in 1923 and commercialized insulin that same year, merged with Novo Terapeutisk Laboratorium, which was created in 1925, to become the present-day Novo Nordisk in 1989.

Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk is most famous for its treatments for diabetes and weight loss. In 2018 and 2019, it launched Ozempic and Rybelsus to treat type 2 diabetes. A few years later in 2021, it introduced the weight loss medicine, Wegovy. These drugs quickly rose to become the top medicines produced by the company.

Novo Nordisk’s CEO, Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, said in an interview that the launch of the weight loss drug was “the steepest uptake of any medicine we have launched, and perhaps also for any medicine that has been launched.”

In 2023, Ozempic generated DKK 96 billion ($14.07 billion) in revenue, followed by Wegovy at DKK 31 billion ($4.54 billion) and Rybelsus at DKK 19 billion ($2.78 billion).

These drugs are incredible assets for the company because patients need to use them regularly and indefinitely. For example, antibiotics are generally much less profitable because they are only used for a single round (often for about a week) and then discontinued. This is part of why companies who discover and develop these kinds of drugs, like Novo Nordisk or Ely Lilly, are so incredibly successful.

Novo Nordisk sales

To lead the market, the company invested DKK 45 billion ($6.59 billion) in the research and development of healthcare products and processes in 2023.

Company Name Novo Nordisk
Headquartered In Bagsværd, Denmark
Market Cap $603.55 billion
Founded In 1923

3. Johnson & Johnson – $392.64 Billion

Ranked the number 1 pharmaceutical company in the world by Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies for a decade in a row in 2023, Johnson & Johnson is one of the biggest multinational biotechnology companies with a market cap of $392 billion in March 2024.

johnson & johnson

Johnson & Johnson specializes in developing healthcare products, vaccines, and medical devices. During COVID-19, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was one of the official vaccines approved by the FDA to combat one of the most infectious diseases globally, saving millions of lives and helping society get back to normal. Naturally, Johnson & Johnson made an absolute killing selling the vaccine.

In the first 6 months of 2023, the company made $42 billion in sales and invested $7.16 billion in research and development, accounting for 17% of its sales. It was also the only biotech company in the US with the top AAA credit rating at the time of writing.

Company Name Johnson & Johnson
Headquartered In New Brunswick, New Jersey, US
Market Cap $392.64 billion
Founded In 1886

4. AbbVie – $320.28 billion

AbbVie is the youngest biotechnology company on our list with a $320.28 billion market cap. Headquartered in Illinois, the technology giant had offices in 17 countries with over 12,500 experts in the science and biotechnology fields. AbbVie excels at developing treatments for complex conditions like autoimmune diseases and oncology.


In 2013, the American biotech firm separated from its parent company, Abbott Laboratories, and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange at $34.40 per share. That same year, AbbView recorded $18.80 billion in revenue.

Later in 2020, AbbVie acquired Allergen, the biology lab that produced Botox, for $63 billion, securing its market share in the cosmetic and beauty segment. The product would generate $718 million in net revenue for AbbVie in 2023.

As of 2023, its best-selling drug was Humira ($14 billion in revenue), a common treatment for Crohn’s disease (as well as ulcerative colitis and other issues), a genetic disease that causes pain and diarrhea. Its second best-selling drug, Skyrizi, is also used for Crohn’s disease. These drugs are both used by patients regularly and for long periods of time, making them especially profitable, similar to Ely Lilly and Novo Nordisk’s Diabetes and weight loss drugs.

That same year, AbbVie spent $7.6 billion in market research and drug development, up nearly $1 billion from its 2022 figures. Its revenue was $54.32 billion, and it paid $2.72 dividend per share.

Company Name AbbVie
Headquartered In North Chicago, Illinois, US
Market Cap $320.284 billion
Founded In 2013

5. Merck & Co. – $310.71 Billion

Founded in 1891 in the US as a subsidiary of the Germany-based Merck Group to access the overseas market, Merck & Co. is a global biotech company that conducts research in infectious diseases like AIDS, cancer treatments, and animal healthcare products. At the time of writing, it had a market cap of $310.71 billion.

Merck & Co.

Its full-year 2023 sales were valued at $60.10 billion, and the volume is set to exceed $62 billion in 2024. Around 47% of its revenue came from its US market while the rest came from its overseas markets, consolidating the company’s global influence and leadership in creating in-demand medicines.

Keytruda, Merck & Co.’s flagship drug used for treating different types of cancers, is expected to generate $27.2 billion for the company in 2024, ranking top as the world’s leading drug in terms of revenue.

Keytruda is absurdly successful for 2 main reasons. For one, it’s a modern miracle of science that works incredibly well and beats out most other treatments in terms of survival rates for its indications. Secondly, it seems to work on 20 different types of tumors which is absolutely astounding compared to the vast majority of cancer therapeutics.

In February 2024, Merck & Co. announced its acquisition of Elanco Animal Health Incorporated’s aqua business for $1.3 billion in cash.

Company Name Merck & Co.
Headquartered In Rahway, New Jersey, US
Market Cap $310.71 billion
Founded In 1891

6. Thermo Fisher Scientific – $227.32 Billion

With a market cap of $227.32 billion, Thermo Fisher Scientific is another US-based company that sits on our list of the biggest biotech companies in the world. George Nicholas Hatsopoulos founded the Thermo Electron Corporation together with Peter Nomikos in 1956.

Thermo Fisher Scientific

The company would later merge with Fisher Scientific, a life sciences institution and testing laboratory, in 2006 to form the present-day Thermo Fisher Scientific. The merger produced $200 million in synergies.

Right now, Thermo Fisher Scientific specializes in several healthcare fields such as developing cancer diagnostics, researching  living organisms and vaccines, and providing digital solutions to clinics and laboratories.

According to Thermo Fisher Scientific’s report, its 2023 full-year revenue was $42.86 billion, a 5% decrease from the previous year.

Company Name Thermo Fisher Scientific
Headquartered In Waltham, Massachusetts, US
Market Cap $227.32 billion
Founded In 1956

7. Roche – $220.31 Billion

Up next on our list of the largest biotech companies in the world, we have Roche with a market cap of $220.31 billion at the time of writing. Based in Basel, Switzerland, the history of Roche dates back to 1896 when entrepreneur Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche created the company to develop treatments and vaccines for various diseases.


From cancers to medical devices to life sciences, Roche is a high-quality biotech company that has produced life-changing drugs like Valium and Herceptin for patients with mental and physical diseases.

In 2023, Ocrevus, a top treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS), was ranked as the best-selling drug produced by Roche with a sales volume of 6.38 billion Swiss Francs ($7.26 billion). Ocrevus was followed by Hemlibra, a prophylactic drug and treatment for hemophilia A, at 4.15 billion Swiss Francs ($4.72 billion) and Perjeta at 3.77 billion Swiss Francs ($4.29 billion).

Its total revenue that year was 60.44 billion Swiss Francs ($68.75 billion) with the research costs totaling 14.2 billion Swiss Francs ($16.15 billion).

Company Name Roche
Headquartered In Basel, Switzerland
Market Cap $220.31 billion
Founded In 1896

8. AstraZeneca – $209.52 Billion

Famed for its COVID-19 vaccine development, AstraZeneca was one of the first biotech companies to develop and distribute the vaccine in the world, reaching over 170 markets. By the end of 2021, the biotechnology giant was offering the vaccines on a not-for-profit basis.

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, AstraZeneca is a global pioneer in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Its services span from drug testing to refining healthcare processes for patients with the main focus on drugs for cancer, diabetes, and respiratory diseases.

In 2010, the US Department of Justice fined AstraZeneca $250 million for its illegal off-label drug marketing activities.

Its 2023 sales reached $45.81 billion, showing a 6% increase from its previous year despite a $3.74 billion drop in the sales revenue of COVID-19 medicines.

Company Name AstraZeneca
Headquartered In Cambridge, England, UK
Market Cap $209.52 billion
Founded In 1999

9. Novartis – $202.43 Billion

Similar to Roche, Novartis is another biotech company headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. Novartis was formed following the merger of two Swiss companies, Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz Laboratories.


Over the years, Novartis has expanded through partnerships with other biotech companies as well as mergers and acquisitions. In 1999, it partnered with another industry giant, AstraZeneca, to form Syngenta AG, a biotech business that focuses on the development of biotechnology products to facilitate agricultural output and safety.

Then, in 2005, it bought Germany’s leading pharmaceutical firm at the time, Haxel, and the US-based Eon Labs for a total of $8.29 billion.

Two years later, Novartis acquired Advanced Accelerator Applications, a top French biotech company specializing in cancer treatment research, for $3.9 billion. February 204 saw it acquire all outstanding stock of IFM Therapeutics, a US biotech and pharmaceutical firm, for $835 million.

The company reported $45 billion in net sales for the 2023 fiscal year, showing an increase from its 2022 $42 billion in sales revenue.

Company Name Novartis
Headquartered In Basel, Switzerland
Market Cap $202.43 billion
Founded In 1996

10. Pfizer – $158.25 Billion

To finish off our list of the best biotech companies in the world, we have Pfizer with a market cap valuation of $158.25 billion. The American international biotechnology company was founded by German immigrants Charles Pfizer and Charles F. Erhart in 1849.

During the first quarter of the 20th century, Pfizer focused on fermentation technology and chemical production before gradually pivoting to biology research to develop treatment methods for injured Allied soldiers in WW2.

In 1980, Pfizer launched Feldene, an anti-inflammatory drug that would become the company’s first product to reach $1 billion dollars in sales. The drug ran into controversy in 1986 with petitions to ban it due to previously unknown adverse effects, but it still remains available today.

During COVID-19, Pfizer collaborated with a German biotech company, BionTech, to conduct clinical testing and trials for vaccines against the infectious disease. The Pfizer-BionTech COVID-19 vaccine was the world’s first vaccine for the disease to become authorized for emergency use globally.

As of the second quarter of 2023, the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine remained the most administrated COVID-19 vaccine in the US with over 367 million doses given in the country.

Company Name Pfizer
Headquartered In New York City, US
Market Cap $158.25 billion
Founded In 1849

Top 10 Biotech Companies in the USA

According to Precedence Research, the US biotech market was valued at $246.18 billion in 2023. The number is set to reach $763.82 billion by 2033, demonstrating a CAGR of 11.90% during the forecast period.

US biotech market

The North American biotech segment also dominated the market with a global share of 37.79%, followed by Europe (28.81%).

With the huge potential for growth, investing and collaborating with biotech companies in the US can be an effective strategy. Here is a list of the top 10 biotech companies in the US by market cap.

  1. Eli Lilly – $717.58 Billion – Largest company in the US biotech industry
  2. Johnson & Johnson – $392.64 billion – The only US biotech company with a AAA credit rating
  3. AbbVie – $320.28 billion – Youngest US biotech company with a top-performing market cap
  4. Merck & Co. – $310.71 billion – Leading firm in cancer research
  5. Thermo Fisher Scientific – $227.32 billion – Specializes in providing medical devices, treatment software, and healthcare services
  6. Pfizer – $158.25 billion – Produced the first authorized COVID-19 vaccine in the world
  7. Amgen – $148.22 billion – Leading in biologics manufacturing
  8. Bristol-Myers Squibb– $106.19 Billion – Produced the cancer drug Opdivo
  9. Vertex Pharmaceuticals – $107.05 Billion – One of the first US biotech firms to use rational drug design
  10. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals – $106.53 Billion – Leading in genetic sequencing efforts in the world

Learning from the Biggest Biotech Companies in the World

In 2024, these biggest companies in the biotechnology fields continue to bring innovation and changes, helping billions of patients around the world. Many of the pharmaceuticals listed specialize in developing treatments for infectious diseases and cancers, demonstrating a huge demand for advanced medicines.

These firms are able to grow to become industry leaders due to their investment decisions. Their products often align with customer preferences, and their massive investments in R&D allow them to stay ahead of the game. Recently, biotech monoliths like Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly have cemented themselves by brilliantly targeting R&D toward long-term regular-use drugs for common illnesses. Mergers and acquisitions have also played a part in consolidating companies, enabling the sharing of technology and bringing some of the best minds in biotech together.

The blossoming biotech industry provides tremendous opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs. Studying these companies’ market performances and operation models allows you to build profitable strategies effectively.


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