Which European Biotechs made it to the Billion-Euro Club in 2016?

billion euro club europe 2016

Europe has a lot of successful Biotech companies, but which of those are worth a billion euros or more? I did a previous version of this article last year and now I explore how these have evolved. 

Just 9 European Biotech companies (private and public) are worth over one billion right now. Many of these were present last year. For example: Cellectis, Basilea, Adaptimmune and Bavarian Nordic have seen their stock prices decrease and their market cap drop under the billion range.

I decided not to add the life science companies which are not considered as being mainly Biotech – for example: Qiagen, DiaSorin or Novozymes, even though they are worth over a billion… We also made an infographic earlier this year on a Pyramid of EU Biotech worth.

So here’s the list – in no particular order. Market cap are the ones at the time of publication of the article.

Actelion: THE European Biotech success story

Andreas Schwarzkopf

Market cap: €17Bn (€15Bn this time last year)

Founded: 1997

City: Basel (Switzerland)

Mission: Actelion is a leading biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative drugs for diseases with significant unmet medical needs – specializing in hypertension.

Comment: Actelion is the European version of Genzyme, Genentech or Amgen. It’s a huge success story which started out very small, delivered a product on the market and is now worth over €17Bn.

Shire even tried to acquire the company for €16.8Bn in June last year (close to the $20Bn Sanofi paid for Genzyme in 2011), but the shareholders of the Swiss company refused.

Immunocore: Europe’s largest private biotech round ever

immunocore headquarter

Value (private): approx €1Bn

Founded: 2008

City: Oxford (UK)

Mission: Immunocore is developing biological therapeutics for the treatment of various diseases, including many cacers. Its world-leading T-cell receptor technology exploits the body’s own immune system to kill diseased cells.

Comment: The most impressive thing about Immunocore is the private round it raised – $320M (€300M). That’s simply the biggest private financing round for a European Biotech company ever!

As a leading investor told me “this could be the next Amgen“.


Galapagos: The biggest EU IPO ever done


Market cap: €1.78Bn (on 5/07/2016)

Founded: 1999

City: Mechelen (Belgium – not to far north of Brussels)

Mission: Galapagos is a clinical stage biotech company focused on developing novel mode of action medicines. Some indication targets include Cystic fibrosis and Rheumatoid arthritis.

Comment: Galapagos has faced ups and downs since last year. It did the biggest European IPO on the NASDAQ ever, raising “only” €277M in May 2015. But then, Abbvie decided to stop the collaboration on one of its advanced programs, with Gilead swooping in as a replacement partner.

DBV Technologies: Why can’t allergies be cured?

billion euro biotech DBV nasdaq biotech tecnologies

Market cap: €1.42Bn

Founded: 2002

City: Paris (France)

Mission: DBV Technologies is developing innovative epicutaneous treatments for food and pediatric allergies (including peanut and milk).

Comment: It’s the first company trying to cure allergies, mainly for peanut and milk. And it is doing extremely well so far.

It launched an IPO on the NASDAQ in October 2014 to start conducting a Phase III in the US, raising an additional €255M (!). Now, DBV finally hopes to access the US allergy market, which is the biggest worldwide.

Oxford Nanopore: A DNA sequencer as small as your Smartphone

Value (Private): approx €2Bn

Founded: 2005

City: Oxford (UK)

Mission: Oxford Nanopore is a platform that lead applications in DNA sequencing, protein analysis for diagnostics and drug development and identification of a range of other molecules.

Comment: Oxford Nanopore has an extremely interesting piece of technology. Using nanotechnology instead of fluorescence could simplify DNA sequencing and help the sequencing price go under the $1000 threshold.

This could play an essential role in the democratisation of sequencing in public health treatments – and it has therefore faced fierce competition.


MorphoSys: Germany’s Mature anti-cancer Biotech


Market cap: €1Bn (€1.57Bn one year ago, and almost didn’t made it into the club this time)

Founded: 1992

City: Munich (Germany)

Mission: MorphoSys is a biopharmaceutical company with a rich pipeline of future therapeutic antibody products and a sustainable dual therapeutic business model.

Comment: It’s the oldest company of the ranking. It not only survived for over 23 years, but it also grew to become the biggest German Biotech.

Its antibody discovery platform led over 100 candidates into clinics, the 12th of which for Novartis was recently announced.


CureVac: the Next Game-changer in Biologicals?


Value (Private): €1.5Bn (November 2015)

Founded: 2000

City: Tübingen (Germany)

Mission: CureVac is the leading company in messenger RNA (mRNA) based drugs with more than 15 years of expertise and the most advanced and broadest clinical pipeline in the industry. It’s most advanced drug is in advanced Phase II (Moderna is only in Phase I).

Comment: Well, mRNA therapies could change the way we design drugs. It could be an as big game-changer as monoclonal antibodies have been.

CureVac has provided incredible results so far and the manufacturing cost is way lower than for proteins. This has opened up a big market opportunity and explains its crazy valuation.

GW Pharmaceuticals: the “Cannabis Biotech”

Yes, it’s what you think it is…

Market cap: €1.79Bn

Founded: 1998

City: Cambridge (UK)

Mission: GW Pharmaceuticals is involved in the development of cannabidiol prescription medicines using botanical extracts derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. Specifically, they are developing therapies for different forms of Epilepsy in particular.

Comment: Yes, GW Pharmaceuticals is developing drugs from weed (but technically it’s important to note it’s the non-hallucinogenic component, CBD, which is being used).

GW has shown numerous successes lately, ranging from a successful Phase III in one rare epilepsy to obtaining an orphan drug status from the FDA and raising€160M on the Nasdaq. They also won ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ at the Mediscience Awards last month.


Genmab: The Scandinavian Biotech success-story

Genmab A/S

Market cap: €9.68Bn

Founded: 1999

City: Copenhagen (Denmark)

Mission: Genmab is engaged in the development of differentiated human antibody therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, as well as other medical conditions, such as relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis.

Comment: The impressive thing about Genmab is the growth it has demonstrated over the last 5 years!

It has brought two products to the market and has over 10 programs in human clinical trials at the moment. The stock price of the company grew 20 times and the company is now worth almost 10 billion.

Wow, these 9 companies are all very impressive! What do you think? Which one would you have added?

Feature Image Credit: Pixabay



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