the 17 fastest growing biotechs and pharmaceuticals of 2021

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  • Insider analyzed nearly 500 SEC reports to find the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies right now.
  • We found 17 companies that increased their workforce by at least 1,500 workers or 150%.
  • The list includes pharma giants like AstraZeneca and small biotechs like InstilBio.

Despite a slowdown in the public biotechnology market, the pharmaceutical industry continued to expand in 2021. While the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF – a leading biotech index – fell nearly 45% over the year past, many companies have continued to hire at a steady pace.

The pharmaceutical industry employs millions across the country and pays well — the average worker earns $107,000 a year, more than double the national average, according to trade group BIO. But that doesn’t mean hiring is easy. Hubs like San Francisco and Boston are facing a talent shortage, making it difficult for companies of all sizes to recruit and retain employees.

Insider analyzed the workforces listed in the annual financial reports of nearly 500 companies using the financial research service Sentieo to identify the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies.

The list of insiders only includes companies developing human therapies that have increased their workforce in 2021 by at least 150% or added more than 1,500 people to their workforce.

Ultimately, 17 pharma companies hit that mark, ranging from global pharma giants like Johnson & Johnson, Novo Nordisk, and AstraZeneca to aggressively expanding tiny biotechs like Vaxart, Longboard Pharmaceuticals, and Arcutis Biotherapeutics. These companies encompass many of the trends that are defining and reshaping the pharmaceutical industry, from the rise of Chinese biotech companies to the explosion of vaccine research. Overall, these 17 companies added more than 28,000 employees to their payrolls last year, and several told Insider that they plan to continue expanding in 2022.

Here are the 17 fastest growing pharmaceutical companies in 2021, listed in alphabetical order:


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