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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.

RankCompany2014 R&D Spending

(Million $ )

2013 R&D Spending

(Million $)

Growth Rate
1Roche – Diagnostics Division159611384.00%
2GE Healthcare100010000%
3Agilent Technologies7197042.10%
4Thermo Fisher Scientific691.1395.574.70%
5BD (Becton, Dickinson & Co.)55049411.30%
6Danaher Life

Sciences & Diagnostics

8Bio-Rad Laboratories220.333210.9524.40%
9Merck Life Science179175.91.80%
12Mettler-Toledo International123.297116.3466.00%
16Pall Life Sciences65.59461.4836.70%
18Integra Biosciences51.59652.088-0.10%
20Pacific Biosciences48.2345.2176.70%

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