Top Awarded Biopharmaceutical Companies Responding to COVID-19

Updated on May 20, 2020

Since 2011, Life Science Leader and Outsourced Pharma have been recognizing the leaders of top contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) through individual customer feedback. The resulting CMO Leadership Awards represent the highest level of achievement as evaluated and determined by actual customers. Only those customers that have worked with the CMO on an outsourced project for at least 18 months are able to provide an evaluation, providing a meaningful stamp of approval for those industry ranked companies. 

The biopharma (biotechnology and pharmaceutical) industry has been growing at a rapid rate over the past five years. The trend is expected to continue through 2024, which means demand for outsourcing from CMOs will also continue to be in high demand. 

The biotechnology industry comprises hundreds of companies that develop drugs and related products for the treatment of diseases and other medical conditions. With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the biotechnology industry is feeling the pressure to create and manufacture effective treatments and vaccines to combat the virus. As new partnerships emerge between biopharma companies and CMOs, such as the recent $362 million deal between Vir Biotechnology and Samsung Biologics, large-scale manufacturing and testing can begin on producing antibody treatments for COVID-19. 

The 2020 CMO Leadership Awards evaluated more than 125 contract manufacturers on 23 different performance metrics. The awards were given at an interesting time this year as biopharma and CMOs step up their efforts to combat the COVID-19 crisis. Below, we look at the biopharmaceutical companies that came out on top in the 2020 CMO Leadership Awards, and how they are rising to face the challenge of fighting COVID-19. 


3M came out at the top of the CMO Leadership Awards, earning recognition in all six categories. 3M has been committed to supporting public health and helping the government respond to COVID-19. Since January, 3M has doubled production of N95 respirators to 1.1 billion per year at each of its global manufacturing facilities. Within the next 12 months, 3M has pledged to double its capacity again, producing 2 billion per year.


Abbvie received recognition in all six CMO Leadership Awards categories. AbbVie has partnered with International Medical Corps, Direct Relief, and Feeding America, donating $35 million to help support their respective missions as they address the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Additionally, Abbvie is collaborating with select health authorities and global institutions on clinical research related to COVID-19. 

Boehringer’s Ingelheim

Boehringer’s Ingelheim was another top award winner at the 2020 CMO Leadership Awards. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have developed a Global Support Program bringing financial relief, protective materials, and medical donations to healthcare organizations and communities around the world. In Addition, Boehringer’s Ingelheim has placed a team of more than 100 highly engaged scientists to specifically take on projects related to finding treatment solutions for COVID-19.


Grifols is a pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company that develops, produces, and markets innovative solutions and services in over 100 countries. The company leads the market in plasma centers and has been working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and other U.S. federal organizations to collect plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. This plasma can be processed and used to manufacture anti-SARS-CoV-2 hyperimmune immunoglobulins. Grifols is also spearheading clinical trials to determine the efficacy of this therapy. 

Grifols is also working on the development of an automated diagnostic test to detect SARS-CoV-2, which the company says should be ready in May 2020. The company earned highest honors, receiving awards in all six of the 2020 CMO Leadership Awards categories.


Lonza received recognition in all six of the CMO Leadership Awards categories this year. Lonza is a leading global provider of healthcare solutions, and its Pharma and Biotech segments are both working to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Lonza continues to develop and manufacture a large number of life-saving treatments, allowing its customers to protect vulnerable patients. Lonza’s Specialty Ingredients segment is focused on delivering microbial control solutions, and more than twenty have been shown to be effective against COVID-19 in tests by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Millipore Sigma

Millipore Sigma was recognized with all six of the CMO Leadership Awards this year. Millipore Sigma is a global life science supplier committed to providing researchers, developers and manufacturers with the necessary products and services to aid the COVID-19 response. The company has organized a webpage for customers in all markets to identify products and services to support the detection of COVID-19 and the development of treatments.


Vetter earned awards in all six of the CMO Leadership categories. Vetter is a contract manufacturer with production sites in Germany and the U.S. During the COVID-19 crisis, the company is committed, now more than ever, to maintaining the highest quality products to customers and their patients. They confirm that appropriate measures and procedures have been placed to maintain business continuity. 

Wuxi Biologics

WuXi Biologics is a leading global open-access biologics technology platform based in Hong Kong, and the company took home all six CMO Leadership Awards this year. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Wuxi Biologics has established a team of more than 100 scientists dedicated to the development and manufacturing of multiple neutralizing antibodies for the virus, expecting to have an antibody ready for preclinical trials in approximately two months. 

In February, Wuxi Biologics entered an agreement with Vir Biotechnology to advance and produce human monoclonal antibodies for the potential treatment of COVID-19. Under the agreement, WuXi Biologics has rights to commercialize therapies in China, and Vir has rights to commercialize therapies in all other markets worldwide, if the antibodies receive regulatory approvals.

Avid Bioservices

Avid Bioservices received recognition in five CMO Leadership Awards categories, including two Champion designations in both Expertise and Service. The contract manufacturer is critical in the supply chain for the pharmaceutical industry and it is maintaining a high level of safety and quality to continue development and providing manufacturing services to its customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies

For more than 30 years Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB) has been a leader in microbial production, and the company received five CMO Leadership Awards in 2020. In response to fighting COVID-19, the contract manufacturer’s parent company, Fujifilm Corporation, recently invested $83 million to expand FDB’s microbial production capacity.

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies is working with partners at Texas A&M University to manufacture clinical materials in short order to support global efforts to control COVID-19. 

FBD has entered into a strategic partnership with Oxygene to deliver gene therapy products to clients with an approximate 25% lead-time reduction. The company is also working with long-time partner GigaGen to develop a recombinant polyclonal antibody therapy (rCIG) to treat COVID-19.

Samsung Biologics

Samsung Biologics is a world-class CMO, CDO, and CRO offering state-of-the-art contract manufacturing, development, and laboratory testing services. The company earned recognition in five CMO Leadership Awards categories, placing them on the awards list for the seventh year in a row. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Samsung Biologics organized an internal task force to protect its employees and maintain the highest level of business operations to support its customers.

Samsung Biologics entered a $362 million deal with Vir Biotechnology in which they will manufacture antibody treatments that have received preliminary approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Clinical trials are planned to begin within the year.

The CMO Leadership Awards are the most meaningful in the drug development and manufacturing outsourcing industry. The organizations on this list are only a handful of those who received awards. In addition, these are just a few of the companies tackling the COVID-19 crisis. With many opportunities on the horizon, it is only a matter of time that the combined efforts produce positive results for our world health.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.