Monday, 16 of July of 2018

Difference Between Biotech and Pharma Companies

When I began this job a few months ago I found myself hearing the words pharmaceutical and biotech quite often.  Not a science person by any means, so these words didn’t mean too much.  I knew they referred to companies that deal with drugs but that was the extent of it.  I decided today that I was going to find out what those companies actually do and the difference, if any, between the two.

So I began my search and these are the two definitions I came across:

  • Biotech Companies: a company whose products or services primarily use biotechnology methods for their production, design or delivery
  • Pharmaceutical Companies: a company that researches, develops, tests, manufactures, and/or sells medical drugs or devices.

Unfortunately these definitions are rather bland and make the two company types sound very similar.  So are Biotech and Pharmaceutical companies the same thing?  Maybe not…  I have compiled a differences chart to help paint a clearer picture about the two types of companies:

Pharmaceutical Biotech
Size Large to middle sized Small start-up
Business Model Large business Small business
Development Process Empirical screening Genetic engineering
Basis of Research Plants, microbes, and organisms RNA, DNA, Amino Acids, and hormones
Specialty Drug refinement Drug discovery
Financing Shareholders Private investors
Business Approach Low risk High risk

Recent speculation among industry experts states that there is no clear distinction between the two types of companies.  However, my research proves otherwise.  * Please note this are the opinions of a layman*

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