Biotech and pharmaceutical companies
Pharmaceutical companies are best known for manufacturing pharmaceutical drugs. These drugs have the aim to diagnose, to cure, to treat, or to prevent diseases. The pharmaceutical sector represents a huge industry, with the global pharmaceutical market being worth nearly one trillion U.S. dollars. The best known top global pharmaceutical players are Pfizer, Merck and Johnson & Johnson from the U.S., Novartis and Roche from Switzerland, Sanofi from France, etc. Most of these companies are involved not only in pure pharmaceutical business, but also manufacture medical technology and consumer health products, vaccines, etc. For example, Johnson & Johnson makes most of its revenues through medical devices, diagnostics and consumer health products.
There are both pure play biotechnology companies as well as pharmaceutical companies which among other products also produce biotech products within their biotechnological divisions. Most of the leading global pharmaceutical companies have biopharmaceutical divisions. Although not a pure play biotech firm, Roche from Switzerland has the largest revenues from biotechnology products worldwide. In contrast, California-based company Amgen is the world’s largest pure play biotech company. Amgen made nearly 23 billion U.S. dollars of revenue in 2017, and two billion U.S. dollars of net income.
Biotech companies use biotechnology to generate their products, most often medical drugs or agricultural genetic engineering. The latter segment is dominated by companies like Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer CropScience. The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity defines biotechnology as follows: "Any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use." In fact, biotechnology is thousands of years old, used in agriculture, food manufacturing and medicine.