The top 10 manufacturers in the fight against COVID-19

AstraZeneca manufacturing employee
Contract manufacturers have played a big role in scaling up production of key COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines. (AstraZeneca)

In the midst of the most significant pandemic in a century, it has truly taken a village to confront the enormous scientific and logistical challenges posed by COVID-19.

Within a year of the rapid global spread of the novel coronavirus, the biopharma industry has produced two novel vaccines that are nearing regulatory approval in record time. Meanwhile, those drugmakers and biotechs have run dozens of medicines through their paces to determine if they could do something—anything—to stem the tide of severe infections and deaths. 

For the frontrunners in that race, taking on the mammoth task of a global commercial rollout is no simple feat, and that's why the industry has increasingly turned to contract manufacturers to help. 

Already a booming industry before COVID-19, the contract manufacturing field has blossomed during the pandemic as drugmakers look to scale up production and lean on specialized manufacturing knowledge to bring their medicines and vaccines to potentially billions of patients. These contractors have not only offered fill-finish work but have also chipped in on producing bulk drug substance, generic medicines for struggling hospitals and even the vials those medicines are carried in. 

In all, outsourcing firms from around the globe have chipped in for the cause, from pandemic specialists in the U.S. to vaccine giants abroad. Along the way, these manufacturers have snared multiyear, multibillion-dollar contracts to help combat the virus, and each will likely play a significant role in the wave of global vaccine rollouts yet to come. 

In anticipation of what could be multiple successful COVID-19 vaccines in the near future, Fierce Pharma has assembled its list of the top 10 contract manufacturers in the fight against COVID-19. 

As with any list of this kind, labels can be complicated. Not all of these companies are CDMOs and not all perform the exact same tasks for their biopharma partners. But one thing does connect all the companies on our list: They have been asked to answer once-in-a-lifetime challenges during this pandemic with millions of lives on the line. 

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The top 10 manufacturers in the fight against COVID-19