The 5 best Biotech companies in Europe’s history

07 June 2018

biotech companies

The United States is where the biotech started back in the days. The biotech industry is rapidly growing nowadays and is one of Europe’s biggest employers. Europe has stepped up as a major competitor in the development of ever better technologies within the biotech industry. In Europe there are many upcoming companies and achievements within the biotech industry.

However, there are five companies that deserve to be in the spotlight, because of their significant contribution to the life sciences/biotech field. Curious which companies they are and why they belong to the five best biotech companies in Europe’s history? Read more here.


Galapagos is founded in 1999 and based in Mechelen which is located in Belgium. This company started as a service company to produce adenoviruses. Then Galapagos started to use their platform to find new targets for drug discovery. One of Galapagos’ keys to success is their collaboration with one of their drug candidates, Filgotinib. This collaboration helped Galapagos to shift towards its own R&D pipeline and therefore Galapagos belongs to one of the five best biotech companies in Europe’s history.


Solexa was founded in 1998, and is responsible for the development of next-generation sequencing technologies used in genomics research. Therefore, this company belongs to one of the five best biotech companies in Europe’s history. The technique that has been developed reduces time and money to sequence DNA by massively parallelising the whole process, which was invented by researchers at Cambridge university. The CEO of Solexa turned this technique into reality which is still used nowadays and controls the majority of the global NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) market.


In 1993, Micromet was created as a spin-off of the University of Munich’s Institute of Immunology. Later on Micromet started to focus on cancer diagnostics to detect micrometastases. Nevertheless, Patrick Baeuerle as CEO for the company, who was a biotech veteran, helped the company to its success. That success was transforming Micromet from a cancer diagnostic into a therapeutics company that became the only player that develops antibodies based on technology within the biotech industry.


In 1998, Abcam was founded by Jonathan Milner. Back in the days he found it frustrating of how difficult it could be to find good quality antibodies, and therefore he decided to make ordering antibodies for research, which was easier than ever. From there on, Abcam started off as a search engine that gathered antibodies from over 500 companies, and started to grow more. In order to produce its own antibodies and other tools for research, Abcam started to make acquisitions in 2011. Currently Abcam has five acquisitions.


Genmab was founded in 1999, which is now one of Europe’s biggest biotech companies.This company currently has a market cap of over 11Bn on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange. Genmab is an international biotech company specialising in the creation and development of differentiated antibody therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Two of these antibodies created by Genmab scientists are in the market: Darlzalex and Arzerra. Both of the antibodies became successful which made €546M in sales in 2016.

Biotech industry is growing

Nowadays, the biotech industry is growing and Europe has stepped up as a major competitor in the development of ever better technologies within this industry. Over the years there has been many upcoming companies and achievements with the above mentioned companies as examples. There are many other upcoming biotech companies to watch in 2018, such as Idorsia, Ablynx, GW Pharma, Motif Bi, and NightstaRX. With this promising industry there are many more successful companies to come.

Image by  Billion Photos/ Shutterstock


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