Top 5 Biopharma Contract Manufacturing Companies

First Posted: Aug 31, 2020 02:46 PM EDT

The Race to What's Next

Given the intense competition to design the next blockbuster drug, many pharmaceutical companies prefer to outsource the actual production of their medicines to biopharma contract manufacturing companies. This enables these firms to direct their focus on doing what they do best: developing and marketing new pharmaceuticals they can bring to market. A study by Research and Markets forecasts that the global healthcare contract manufacturing outsourcing (CMO) market will grow to $205.14 billion in 2021. Increased R&D expenditures for pharmaceutical drugs and a desire to access cutting edge technology were cited as the primary forces behind the sector's growth.

What separates the best biopharma contract manufacturing companies from the rest? Technological capability is a primary factor as is location and quality of services. The ability to reduce costs is important, to be sure; however, it is not necessarily the most important component in a sector where speed to market and quality control is seen as just as, or even more, important than simply cutting costs.

The top five biopharma contract manufacturing companies, taking into account these factors, are listed below.

Samsung Biologics

Samsung Biologics has the largest single site capacity of any CMO as well as the fastest throughput. The company says it is uniquely positioned to offer seamless offerings at all stages of the biopharmaceutical product development life cycle, including:

  •  Development
  •  Manufacturing
  •  Laboratory testing services

Samsung Biologics has a vision of enriching human life with technology and innovation. The company strives to continuously innovate its people, process, and portfolio to fulfill its mission of becoming the most trusted partner to its clients as it works with them to attain a better life for humanity through biomedicines.

The company stresses process innovation to ensure the highest quality manufacturing practices by using client-centric innovation. Samsung Biologics says its execution excellence is bolstered by its agility, adaptability, and ability to rapidly respond to changing business conditions. This enables the company to provide cost competitiveness for the benefit of its customers and for patients in the form of access to live-saving medicines.

Portfolio innovation enables the company to continuously expand the scope of its business and the array of services it offers beyond CMO to also encompass CDO and CRO. Samsung Biologics offers global reach and client proximity along with integrated end-to-end services across its diversified business portfolio. The company partners with its customers to deliver seamless tech transfers, clinical and commercial manufacturing, aseptic fill/finish, and analytical testing.

Samsung Biologics' people innovation encompasses its core values and development of internal talents. The company believes attaining knowledge builds expertise, and combined with creativity and strong teamwork, achieves consistent execution of its mission through the core values of humanity, integrity, passion, ownership, and dedication to each other, its clients, and to society.


A global leader in integrated drug development and manufacturing services, Catalent helps innovators in life science industries develop and debut pharmaceuticals, biologics, and consumer health products. The company offers a selection of advanced technologies and focuses on providing a better and faster journey for its customers from developing a product to delivering it to a patient.

Catalent has been in the CMO business for more than 85 years. The company says that it introduces more than 200 new products and manufactures over 70 billion doses yearly. Catalent's expertise in product development has enabled the firm to use its softgel technologies platform to discover formulations for enhancing the patient experience and boosting product safety.

Catalent reports that it has more than 1,000 products under development at any one time. Additionally, the company boasts partnerships with pharma companies of all sizes. Catalent scales its approach to fit customer needs in order to achieve program success.


Lonza prides itself on matching technological innovation with cutting edge manufacturing and process excellence to help the company enable its customers to translate discoveries into successful products. The company partners with firms in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and specialty ingredients sectors.

Lonza works to realize a healthier world by helping its customers on their journey to bring to fruition innovative medicines. The company can also provide an extensive roster of microbial control solutions to help foster a healthy environment. Lonza delivered manufacturing services for over 300 commercial molecules and provided development support for over 700 pre-clinical and clinical molecules in 2019. It also helped support launches for pioneering autologous cell therapies during the year.


Patheon, a division of Thermo Fisher Scientific, provides a broad range of drug development and manufacturing services. These include:

  •  Small molecule development - This includes route scouting, and analytical development and validation.
  •  Large molecule development - This includes comprehensive development and clinical manufacturing support for biologics.
  •  Commercial manufacturing - Patheon develops or manufactures over 1,000 large and small molecule pharmaceuticals, with approval in over 70 countries.
  •  Oral solid dose - This includes a wide range of choice in oral dosage forms and technologies.
  •  Steriles - This includes an extensive array of development abilities for sterile injectables.
  •  Softgels - This is a dosage form that has gained in popularity in recent years.

Patheon serves clients in a variety of sectors, including:

Emerging pharma and biotech: Greater than half of the company's clients are classified as small businesses.

Midsize pharma: Patheon says that many of its clients in this category are engaged in transforming how pharmaceuticals are developed and commercialized using visionary new business models. Many such companies, the company says, can benefit from Patheon's ability to enable them to offer a virtual model featuring access to world-class facilities.

Large pharma: The company credits its responsiveness, capacity, and reliable quality as among the reasons that a number of large pharma organizations work with it.

Generic pharma: Patheon helps support the growth in generics by offering its technical expertise, capacity, and ability to quickly capitalize on opportunities to companies in this sector.


Recipharm works with both large and small pharmaceutical companies to develop and transform molecules into products. The company takes full responsibility for product development from formulations to clinical trial development with patients. The company has 30 manufacturing and development facilities worldwide that cover a variety of product types and dosage forms.

The company says that it possesses the competence, flexibility, and facilities to enable it to handle challenging products necessitating tailored processes. Recipharm provides support and services including development and procurement as well as manufacturing, distribution, tech transfer, stability studies, and full product lifecycle management.

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