Top 10 Life Sciences Companies with ‘Most Interesting and Meaningful’ Work
For scientists and researchers focused on developing life-saving and life-changing treatments, it would be a safe bet to assume they view their work as highly meaningful and interesting as their work essentially bottles “hope” for millions of patients across the world.
In the latest Ideal Employer Survey, BioSpace readers chimed in their thoughts on which companies across the biotech and biopharma industries were doing the most interesting and meaningful work. The survey respondents ranked the top 10 companies as they see it.
- bluebird bio – Coming in at the top of the list is Cambridge, Mass.-based bluebird bio, a gene therapy company focused on the development of treatments for a number of diseases, including rare blood disorders, including beta-thalassemia. Earlier this year, bluebird gained marketing approval in Europe for Zyntelgo, its gene therapy treatment for patients with transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia who did not have a β0/β0 genotype and for patients where hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation wasn’t appropriate, but a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched related HSC donor isn’t available. Bluebird’s LentiGlobin gene therapy has a list price of $1.8 million and is developing a country-by-country reimbursement plan to ensure the drug is available for patients who need it. The company anticipates potential approval of the treatment in the United States next year.
- Regeneron – New York-based Regeneron has developed numerous products to benefit patients with a myriad of diseases. Not only has its eye treatment Eylea been approved for a number of diseases, such as wet AMD, so too has its product Dupixent, developed with Sanofi. August was a good month for Regeneron. The FDA approved prefilled syringes of Eylea to simplify the administration of the drug. Dupixent also hit the mark in another Phase III trial for severe atopic dermatitis in children ages six to 11. Also, Rogerson halted a Phase III trial of its Ebola virus due to early indications of superiority to the standard-of-care Ebola treatment ZMapp.
- Illumina – DNA sequencing company Illumina recently partnered with Germany-based QIAGEN to broaden the availability and use of NGS-based IVD kits, including companion diagnostics, for patient management.
- AstraZeneca – Pharma giant AstraZeneca has been flexing its muscles this year as its drugs have wowed in multiple Phase III trials and regulatory wins. Most recently, AstraZeneca won approval from the FDA for its self-administered Fasenra (benralizumab) auto-injector for severe eosinophilic asthma. Lynparza, a PARP inhibitor co-developed with Merck, has continuously proven its mettle in treating various cancers. In August, the Phase III PAOLA-1 trial assessed Lynparza as a companion to the standard of care treatment Bevacizumab (Genentech’s Avastin) in women with advanced ovarian cancer. And, AstraZeneca’s diabetes treatment Farxiga was granted Fast Track designation as a treatment for patients with chronic kidney disease. The designation was awarded to delay the progression of renal failure and prevent cardiovascular (CV) and renal death in patients with chronic kidney disease.
- Biogen – Boston-based Biogen has taken a few on the chin lately with the closure of its BACE inhibitor program for Alzheimer’s as well as the stoppage of a mid-stage IPF trial due to safety concerns. Despite those setbacks, Biogen has a strong pipeline targeting numerous diseases, including multiple sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy. In July, clinical data showed treatment with SMA drug Spinraza had continuous improvement with the overwhelming majority of patients achieving motor milestones in a normal timeframe.
- Genentech – South San Francisco-based Genentech, a Roche company, is no stranger to top 10 lists when it comes to innovation and meaningful work. Genentech was the number one company on BioSpace’s list of Ideal Employers. The company has been on the cutting edge for years when it comes to the development of drugs for multiple cancers and other diseases. Recently, won Breakthrough Therapy designation for its lupus nephritis drug, Gazyva (obinutuzumab). Gazyva, which was co-developed with Biogen, has been approved for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and follicular lymphoma.
- BioMarin – Rare disease-focused BioMarin has multiple drugs on the market for a number of different diseases, including Palynziq for phenylketonuria (PKU) and Brineura for Batten disease. Recently, the California-based company submitted a Clinical Trial Application in the U.K. for BMN 307, an investigational AAV5-phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) gene therapy designed to reduce blood phenylalanine (Phe) concentrations levels in patients with PKU. The company expects to start enrolling patients in a Phase I/II trial early next year and is actively preparing regulatory submissions for other countries. BMN 307 represents a potential third PKU treatment option in BioMarin's PKU franchise and its second gene therapy development program.
- Verily – In 2017, Verily topped BioSpace’s list of interesting and meaningful companies to work for based on the Ideal Employer survey. This year the life sciences subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc. forged a number of collaborations with major pharma companies to support its Project Baseline initiative.
- Gilead Sciences – The company that developed a virtual cure for hepatitis C is in the midst of garnering significant advancements in HIV. This month Gilead won approval for its HIV prevention drug, Descovy. Gilead also recently struck a deal with Swiss pharma giant Novartis for three preclinical antiviral programs aimed at the treatment of human rhinovirus, influenza and herpes viruses.
- AbbVie – Illinois-based AbbVie has also been in the midst of a transformation as its cash cow Humira will lose patent protection in 2023. In September the company won approval for its hepatitis C treatment Mayvret for treatment of patients without cirrhosis and with compensated cirrhosis. The company also recently won approval for its JAK inhibitor Rinvoq for the treatment of adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis. AbbVie will eventually have a different look following its $63 billion bid for Botox-maker Allergan. The combined companies will have several strong franchises across immunology, hematologic oncology, medical aesthetics, neuroscience, women's health, eye care and virology.
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