To mark the end of 2021 — the first full year in which we have been publishing exclusive news and commentary in GEN Edge — we are publishing a special report that gathers six of the most important and memorable A-Lists posted this year.
At the start of the year, GEN reported on “hope for an eventual end to the COVID-19 pandemic” based on the rollout of the first vaccines and drugs against the virus, one of “Seven Biopharma Trends to Watch in 2021.” But a series of variants, especially Delta, and resistance to vaccination and other public health measures based on religious and other reasons kept COVID-19 hanging around in 2021, and most probably into 2022 and beyond.
That did not stop biopharmas from generating millions of dollars, sometimes billions, from their COVID-19 vaccine and drugs, according to three A-Lists compiled by GEN during 2021. The most recent list, which recorded the Top 11 Best Selling COVID-19 Vaccines and Drugs of H1 2021, is among six A-Lists from 2021 republished here for GEN Edge subscribers as a snapshot of biopharma business activity.
Among those six is an additional A-List focused on COVID-19. The spread of the virus touched off a scramble to develop vaccines, with a half-dozen of them showing enough promise by the fall to warrant inclusion among Six Up-and-Coming COVID-19 Vaccines.
During 2021, GEN also updated its A-List of Top 10 U.S. Biopharma Clusters, a nationally-quoted ranking of the nation’s top life sciences hotspots that was cited this year by news outlets such as the Boston Globe and think tanks that included the Milken Institute.
The cluster list draws upon criteria that include the number of jobs. This year, GEN also updated its list of Top 10 Life Sciences Jobs Most in Demand over the Next Decade, namely research and clinical biotech occupations projected to add jobs through 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Also republished here are A-Lists highlighting two fast-growing sectors of biopharma. One is GEN’s Top 10 RNA-Based Biopharmas, which updates a ranking first compiled in 2018, before billions of doses of mRNA-based vaccines were administered to prevent COVID-19.
The other list, “Top 10 Synthetic Biology Companies,” for example, would have been compiled differently if published today. That list, first published in July, included eight “Up and Comer” companies. One of them was Zymergen, based on an initial public offering (IPO) in April that generated $529.6 million in net proceeds—at the time, the largest-ever IPO for a synthetic biology company.
Just four months later, Zymergen shares plunged 68% and the CEO resigned. Six weeks later, Zymergen was bested on Wall Street by an even bigger synthetic biology IPO—that of Ginkgo Bioworks, which went public on September 17 through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that valued the company at $15 billion. The combination provided Ginkgo total proceeds of more than $1.6 billion.
On behalf of the entire GEN Edge team, thank you for subscribing to GEN Edge — GEN’s premium content tier offering in-depth coverage of biopharma business and key opinion leaders across the industry. We hope you enjoy a happy and prosperous 2022, a year where we finally fulfill the “hope for an eventual end to the COVID-19 pandemic.