GEN: Top 20 R&D Spenders among Life Science Companies

Like pharmaceutical companies, life science tool and technology companies are also experiencing a wave of cost spiral and consolidation in recent years. Among these top 20 companies on this year’s list, the lowest-ranked firm invested a total of over 48 million US dollars on R&D, a growth of $10 million compared with the lowest-ranked company in 2013 Top list.

Three companies fell off the list this year (Single-cell sequencing company Fluidigm, bio-analytical instruments company Luminex, and the German company Sartorius Stedim Biotech), even they spent more than one million dollars on R&D—$38 million higher than those ranked 20th in 2013. In 2014, Fluidigm doubled its R&D investment, reaching $43.423 million.

Only four Top 20 companies reduced R & D investment between 2013 and 2014, and two of them cut their budgets by less than 2%. This is very different from the pharmaceutical industry, as drug developers are now more inclined to increase R&D expense by external cooperation or acquisitions rather than in-house.

However, it will be the last for two companies appearing on the list—Sigma-Aldrich (being acquired by Merck KGaA), and Pall Life Sciences (part of Pall Corp., being acquired by Danaher). A similar situation also occurred in 2013: Life Technologies acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Complete Genomics acquired by BGI Shenzhen.

Below are 20 publicly-traded life science tool and technology companies listed in descending order by R&D spending as disclosed in regulatory filings, annual reports, and/or press announcements. The following listings include R&D spending for 2014 and 2013, and the percentage difference between the two years.

Rank Company 2014 R&D Spending
(Million $ )
2013 R&D Spending
(Million $)
Growth Rate
1 Roche – Diagnostics Division 1596 1138 4.00%
2 GE Healthcare 1000 1000 0%
3 Agilent Technologies 719 704 2.10%
4 Thermo Fisher Scientific 691.1 395.5 74.70%
5 BD (Becton, Dickinson & Co.) 550 494 11.30%
6 Danaher Life
Sciences & Diagnostics
507 476 6.50%
7 Illumina 388.055 276.743 40.20%
8 Bio-Rad Laboratories 220.333 210.952 4.40%
9 Merck Life Science 179 175.9 1.80%
10 Bruker 174.2 190.5 -8.60%
11 Qiagen 163.627 146.07 12.00%
12 Mettler-Toledo International 123.297 116.346 6.00%
13 PerkinElmer 121.141 132.4 -8.50%
14 Waters 107.726 100.536 7.20%
15 Cepheid 96.851 80.197 20.80%
16 Pall Life Sciences 65.594 61.483 6.70%
17 Sigma-Aldrich 65 66 -1.50%
18 Integra Biosciences 51.596 52.088 -0.10%
19 Affymetrix 50.227 47.67 5.40%
20 Pacific Biosciences 48.23 45.217 6.70%

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