Over 500 Companies work on COVID-19

To celebrate recent progress in COVID-19 vaccine development, we [Biotech-Careers.org] are updating the "employers that work on COVID-19" article that we posted last April. This post also summarizes some of our 2020 progress.* In early March we began tagging companies, in the Biotech-Careers.org database, that are working on COVID-19. Initially the number of companies working on COVID-19 was small, but grew quickly. In mid March there were 57 and by April 6 there were 109. Over the summer we crossed the 500 mark. As of today (Nov. 16, 2020) we've identified 528!

Exploring COVID-19 vaccine companies

Biotech-Careers Employer Database

As we were tagging employers (biotech companies and other organizations), we realized it would be good to show the other areas that an employer may work on. The Biotech-Careers.org employer database includes a rich set of keywords (over 500 terms) that describe technologies, products, and biological applications, are used to tag companies to better understand the biotechnology industry. We call these terms "core business activities,"** and each company in the database has one or more terms (described in a previous blog). Large technology companies that develop and sell multiple kinds of products can have several terms and others may have just a few, or one. As companies began working on COVID-19 they did so in their specific areas of expertise. Thus, when these companies are tagged with the COVID-19 core business activity term, we can use their other terms to get a picture of what the COVID-19 companies do. Companies making antibodies, for example, will likely work on immunoassays to detect virus, develop therapeutic antibodies to treat infections, or design vaccines to prevent disease. DNA sequencing and genetic testing companies will engage in developing molecular diagnostic tests, and so on.

Back in April, the 109 employers working on COVID-19, in 364 locations throughout the world, were observed to work in 92 different areas. The currently identified 528 employers working on COVID-19, work in 197 other areas. The major business areas being vaccines (161 employers), diagnostics and molecular diagnostics (99 and 72 employers), antibodies (56 employers), reagents (32 employers), and immunoassays (31 employers). 113 employers have received emergency use authorizations (EUA). EUAs grant companies the ability test for COVID-19 in people in the United States (US). The European equivalent is the CE Mark and many employers with an EUA also have a CE Mark. 34 employers are universities. Universities were added to create a more complete picture of groups working on vaccines. Other terms in the list indicate general business areas (ie. employers that work on cancer, synthetic biology, bioinformatics, genetic testing, and others). 

Exploring Vaccine Companies

As noted above, 161 employers work on COVID-19 vaccines.  To learn who the COVID-19 / Vaccine employers are, simply click the "Vaccines" link (highlighted in the word cloud at the top of the figure to the left). The page will reload, but now filtered on employers that work on COVID-19 and Vaccines. Initially this page provides a worldwide view of the employers. We see that the 161 employers are located in 342 locations.

You view a list of employers by scrolling down the page. The data in the map and employers list can be further filtered by additional criteria. Clicking the United States radio button displays the 72 employers in 139 locations that are specific to the United States (highlighted in the third panel).

To see who may be hiring, radio buttons under "Career Information" are used. Clicking "Yes" under Career Information, filters the data by employers that have career pages on their websites. The fourth panel of the figure shows 51 employers in 116 US locations. Filters are additive, and you can toggle between different the filter states, so clicking "World" under "View by: Geography" will show who may be hiring worldwide. As might be expected the COVID crises needs a lot people working on solutions, so having just over 70% of the COVID-19 vaccine companies having career pages is not surprising.

What about internships? Many students, who will soon enter the workforce, seek practical experience. Some employers providing these experiences as a way to find talent and (or) fulfill an education mission. In most technical careers, those of who have been in the field for some time have benefited from the help of others, and internships are way to "return the favor." Clicking the "Yes" radio button under "Internships" shows three employers in 16 locations that work on COVID-19 and Vaccines.

Who are the potential employers? As noted above, you can scroll the page to see the list of employers. The employer list is alphabetical. To explore employers geographically, you can zoom into the map in different ways. Clicking the "+" or "-" in a map's upper left corner (red arrow in the fourth panel) zooms the map in (+) or out (-). You can also use a two finger up or down gesture (track pads) to zoom in (up) or out (down). Or, you can click a number on the map (depending on device/browser, this may be a double click or double tap). Each number indicates the number of employers in a particular area. The goal is to get to the blue droplet icons that represent individual employers.

The sixth panel (left figure) shows the results after clicking the circle with 21 employers (fourth panel) in the northeast region of the US. This exploration focuses on the Boston area, home of Moderna Therapeutics and other companies working on SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Each blue droplet was clicked until I found Moderna in Cambridge. Clicking the droplet displays the employer name as a link, and clicking on the link returns the Biotech-Careers employer's page. On this page we can see information about the employer, its name, a link to is website, and its business area terms (last panel). Following a brief description, links to career pages will be displayed, if they exist. The employers locations that we've included are listed along with map showing those locations.

We also see that Moderna has hired a community college graduate as indicated by the DNA icon. Biotech-Careers.org has been supported, in part, though the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education (NSF-ATE) program. NSF-ATE supports the development of community colleges courses and programs that endeavor to educate the skilled technical workforce, and one of our jobs is promote the value of community college education. Identifying companies that have hired graduates is one of the many ways in which we fulfill our ATE mission in Biotech-Careers.org.  

To get to the reports shown in the figure, you can click this link, search for COVID-19 in the search box that appears on the font and many other pages, or browse all the business areas.  Of course, as we reported last April, the data may have changed by the time you read this.


SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 are both used to differentiate between the virus and disease, respectively. 

* We added the ability to view other core business activities and added the ability see which employers have career and (or) internship pages, plus some performance improvements, and added content.
** Sometimes we call core business activities, business area, keywords, or tags, which together form a taxonomy, so we sometimes use taxonomy term, or term.


Submitted by Todd Smith on Mon November 16, 2020.

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