Biotech Stocks Are Down and Out,” Investor’s Business Daily declared. “Investors are moving away from biotech stocks as COVID wanes,” Bloomberg News explained. But investors don’t need to check the headlines to see how much biotech stocks have fallen since last year’s record high prices and market capitalization (the product of the share price and the number of outstanding shares).

Investors would do better to look at what’s happening with the many electronic transfer funds (ETFs) specializing in biotech stocks. These ETFs have been sinking since the fall. Indeed, lower ETFs were cited in a GEN article, “Top 5 Reasons behind the Biopharma Bear Market,” that appeared on February 14. Between the time that article appeared to March 7, the largest ETF—the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB)—fell from $131.80 to $120.62. That was an 8.5% drop. (The new value was 30% less than the IBB’s record high of $172.60, which was reached on February 8, 2021.)

The decline was worse on the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI), which dropped 11% in the month ending March 7, from $94.36 to $83.76, losing more than half its value (52%) from its record high of $173.99 on February 8, 2021.

Notwithstanding the biotech bear market of recent months, the total market capitalization of the 25 biotech firms with the highest market capitalization or “market cap” as of March 4 actually rose year over year to $1.498 trillion. But the increase was small (up nearly 4% from $1.445 trillion in March 2021) compared with jumps of 55.5% from the aggregate $963.495 billion reported by GEN’sTop 25 Biotech Companies of 2019,” and 63% from the $918.85 reported by GEN’sTop 25 Biotech Companies of 2018.”

Among the top 25 biotech companies, gainers of market cap (14) outnumbered losers (11). Interestingly, not one of the 77 companies that priced initial public offerings during 2021 (according to placed in the top 25—a possible early sign that investors were less than willing to flock to newly public companies.

This A-List presents GEN’s updated list of 25 biotech companies, ranked by their market cap as of March 4, 2022, as indicated by the exchanges on which the companies’ shares are traded, or by other publicly available sources. Each company is listed by rank, name, market cap in billions of dollars, and percentage change from last year. (Figures are rounded off to the nearest tenth.)

Companies headquartered outside the United States accounted for more than half (13) of the companies ranked on this year’s top 25 list biotech companies, one less than on GEN’s 2019 A-List. Of the 13 headquartered outside the United States, three are based in China, two in South Korea, two in Denmark, and one each in Australia, Belgium, Germany, India, Japan, and Switzerland (but not including a second company with a Swiss headquarters since it also maintains headquarters in the United States).

The smallest company listed this year has a market cap of just over $14 billion, compared with just over $10 billion for the 25th ranked company on GEN’s 2019 list.

Just missing the list at number 26 is BioMarin Pharmaceutical, which had a market cap of $13.93 billion on March 4, followed by Exact Sciences ($12.37 billion), whose market cap has fallen by nearly half (46%) from last year’s value ($23.06 billion), and Viatris ($11.95 billion), the company formed by the merger of Mylan (number 25 on GEN’s 2019 list) and Pfizer’s Upjohn division.

Top 25 Biotech Companies of 2022
Credit: GEN
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