Top 7 Most Capable Pharmaceutical CDMO/CMOs

Top 7 Most Capable Pharmaceutical CDMO/CMOs
Top 7 Most Capable Pharmaceutical CDMO/CMOs

Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMO) and Contract Development and Manufacturing Organizations (CDMO) provide comprehensive services to other companies in the pharmaceutical industry on a contract basis to develop and manufacture drugs. Demand for pharmaceutical and biologic products continues to increase, requiring companies to meet evolving needs and expectations. According to Pharma Manufacturing, the CDMO industry is fragmented, with the top five companies owning less than 15% of the market in 2019; additionally, organizations harbor diverse capabilities and capacities. This makes it difficult and time consuming for pharmaceutical companies to navigate the CDMO/CMO landscape and select the optimal organization to meet their needs. 

The 2020 CMO Leadership Awards identified the world’s most capable CDMOs and CMOs based on primary market research by Industry Standard Research and customer feedback. Here we list the top seven (in alphabetical order). 

3M Health Care

Headquarters: United States | Website:

3M is a massive multinational corporation that operates in numerous industries spanning the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific countries. The healthcare arm of the company focuses on the development, manufacturing, and packaging of healthcare products to improve sustainability, efficiency, and performance, as well as support investigator sponsored research (ISR). 3M Health Care offers products and services related to purification, food safety, health information systems, medical, medical device components, oral care, and personal health care.

CDMO/CMO Core competencies:

●      Inhalation and Transdermal Drug Delivery Systems

●      Oral and Topical Drug Delivery Systems

●      Pharmaceutical Industry Personal Protective Equipment

●      Biopharmaceutical Purifications

3M offers end-to-end drug delivery product development services from formulations to licensing. It has a full range of cGMP compliant services and global regulatory expertise.


Headquarters: United States | Website:

AbbVie harbors approximately 30,000 employees, 8 research and development centers, and 14 manufacturing facilities worldwide, spanning over 70 countries. Its manufacturing facilities are located in Europe, the USA, and Puerto Rico, with vast capabilities that serve the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, food additive, and chemical application markets. 

CDMO/CMO Core competencies:

●      Biologics

●      High Potency Drugs

●      Drug Product and Packaging

●      Microbial Fermentation

●      Hot Melt Extrusion and Bioavailability Enhancement

●      Prefilled Syringe and Aseptic Fill

●      Bulk Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API)

●      Oral Solid Dosage

AbbVie offers end-to-end development services for diverse classes of products, regulatory expertise, and extensive know-how to avoid bottlenecks, all of which are enhanced by the company’s established infrastructure.

Evonik Health Care (Evonik Corporation)

Headquarters: Germany | Website:

Evonik Health Care partners with pharmaceutical, medical device, and nutraceutical companies to streamline the path to market and improve commercial performance. It has 32,000 employees, manufacturing sites and labs spanning 200 countries across Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. In addition to their core competencies, they provide technical and regulatory support, as well as workshops, to their partners. 

CDMO/CMO Core competencies:

●      Exclusive and Standard Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), Intermediates and Amino Acids

●      Food Ingredients and Nutritional Delivery

●      High Purity Amino Acids, Peptides, and Keto Acids

●      Parenteral Drug Delivery

●      Oral Drug Delivery

●      Medical Devices

Already this year, Evonik has announced three major developments: 

1) the world’s first free-flowing bioresorbable powder for 3D printing implantables (RESOMER PrintPowder)

2) an advanced recombinant collagen platform created using fermentation-based processes that mimics human collagen

3) the expansion of its Dossenheim and Hanau sites to increase the capacity of APIs and intermediates in Germany.


Headquarters: Spain | Website:

Grifols offers products and services to biotechnology/biopharmaceutical companies and hospitals. It has 15 state-of-the-art manufacturing plants with subsidiaries in 30 countries and regions and commercial operations in over 100 countries. There are four divisions of the company: Bioscience, Diagnostic, Hospital, and Bio Supplies, which reflect the different sectors of the healthcare ecosystem that Grifols services. 

CDMO/CMO Core competencies:

●      Plasma-derived and Transfusion Medicines

●      Plasma Proteins

●      Clinical Diagnostic Test Materials

●      Clinical Nutrition

●      Medical Devices for Interventional Therapy

Grifols is known for its work in plasma-related therapies and diagnostics. Expertise in these areas have enabled them to quickly respond to the SARS-CoV-2 Virus by developing a high-sensitivity molecular test in record time. The company recently received AEMPS authorization for the use of the diagnostic test in blood, plasma, and respiratory samples and expects to produce one million tests weekly in its San Diego-based plant.

Samsung Biologics

Headquarters: South Korea | Website:

Samsung Biologics CDMO provides end-to-end drug development services to biopharmaceutical companies. It has three biologics manufacturing plants, one being the world’s largest, with varying capacities and offers cGMP manufacturing facilities to fulfill diverse scales and unique production needs. Samsung BioLogics CDMO delivers comprehensive, customized, and flexible solutions to develop and manufacture a broad range of biopharmaceutical drugs and also offers contract research services to support product launch.

CDMO/CMO Core competencies:

●      Biologics Drug Development

●      Cell Line Development

●      Upstream and Downstream Process Development

●      Analytical Method Development

●      Biosafety and Stability Testing

●      Formulations 

Recently, the company has partnered with various biopharmaceutical companies to develop therapeutics to address pressing health needs. Most recently, it has entered an agreement with ImmuneOncia Therapeutics to develop and manufacture an antibody drug for Phase 1 clinical trials. The drug is expected to help patients with metastatic or locally advanced solid tumors and relapsed or refractory lymphomas. Notably, Samsung Biologics partnered with Vir Biotechnology to develop and manufacture an antibody therapeutic for COVID-19. This partnership resulted in a surge of stock value, making it Korea’s third-most-valuable company, and could accelerate the company’s plan for building an additional facility.

STA Pharmaceutical, WuXi STA 

Headquarters: China | Website:

STA Pharma is a global pharmaceutical development, manufacturing and technology platform company serving the life science industry, operating in China and the United States. It offers end-to-end product development services related to drug substances, drug product development and manufacturing, analytical development, quality control, and global regulatory affairs. 

CDMO/CMO Core competencies:

●      Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) Process Research and Development

●      API and Advanced Intermediates Manufacturing

●      Oligonucleotides and Oligonucleotide Conjugates

●      Peptide Therapeutics

Earlier this year, it opened a large-scale oligonucleotide manufacturing facility in Changzhou, China, establishing a one-stop platform where clients can move from preclinical to commercial stages of product development. 

Vetter Pharma International GmbH

Headquarters: Germany | Website:

Vetter provides comprehensive manufacturing support throughout drug development from preclinical studies to commercial batches. Worldwide, it has 4,900 employees and a project portfolio focused towards biologics. Its efforts in commercial manufacturing focus on aseptic fill and finish services for parenteral drugs.

CDMO/CMO Core competencies:

●      Aseptic Prefilled Syringe, Cartridge, and Vial Systems

●      Cartridge and Vial Filling

●      Packaging and Process Design

●      Formulations

●      Feasibility and Stability Testing

To complement the clinical and commercial manufacturing capabilities, Vetter offers expertise in storage and supply chain logistics, product lifecycle management, analytical testing, and regulatory support at each stage of development. The company is focused on optimizing workflow and enhancing client services, demonstrated by recently modernizing its development laboratories to bundle competencies under one roof. This change will increase information sharing among employees and increases capacity. 

For a full list of companies identified in the 2020 CMO Leadership Awards, visit


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