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Top 100 Pharma & Biotech: Start-ups and Influencers Changing Drug Discovery and Development

by | Nov 6, 2019 | Influencer Lists, ,

For this Top 100, we’ve identified the most influential pharma & biotech professionals talking about topics such as drug discovery, R&D, Biotech start-ups, investment and regulation; helping to craft the future of the industry. Given the topics, Academics and Researchers represent 32% of the list, highlighting the emphasis on the rapidly expanding research and development opportunities in the industry.

With light at the end of the tunnel, new technology is helping to end the “Productivity Crisis” that has plagued drug development pipelines for decades. Whether it’s focusing on new drug delivery methods, automating lab processes, minimising gestation lag and time to market or finding and exploring new candidate therapies, a new Golden age of Biotech may finally be upon us.

AI Innovation: Old Tricks, New Dog

After 70 years of broken promises, AI has finally stopped stretching its legs and started to run.

With a jump in business adoption of AI across all industries from 48% in 2018 to 72% in 2019, and 68% to 87% in the Medical / Scientific industry, AI doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. But it doesn’t all have to be dreams of the future, some of the biggest and quickest gains to be had are from using AI to speed up processes, assist and improve decision making and helping innovate projects out of the red tape and hard place they’ve been stuck between.

And while our inner MBAs may not be dancing with glee at the prospect of incremental improvements in lab productivity, that doesn’t mean there aren’t incredibly exciting examples happening at the edge, promising big wins, with significantly reduced risks. This year Sanofi partnered with Google to launch the “Innovation Lab” initiative, aimed at applying AI resources towards drug development. Whereas the biotech start-up Arzeda is using AI to develop enzyme design proteins, and that’s without getting started on everything happening at Y-Combinators Demo Day.

However, according to a survey run by the Canadian AI start-up for biomedical researcher BenchSci, 41% of the interviewed scientists were unfamiliar with the uses of AI in drug discovery. With Google, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and the start-up industry taking the talent, and the with money and minds getting all of the PR attention, there are clear gaps and opportunities for Marketing and Communications to wade in, steal the show and get ahead of the game.

Mapping The Community

We analysed over 400,000 Pharma & Biotech-related posts from 25th October 2018 to 25th October 2019. We then identified the top 100 most influential individuals leading the discussion on social media. Below you can see a network map of the online conversation around pharma & biotech. The top influencer Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is at the centre highlighted in blue. This map was created using the Onalytica platform. The ranking analyses a variety of personas from industry experts, to social amplifiers and content creators as well as journalists and politicians so there’s quite a mix of influencers that have been identified.

Pharma Network Map

Top 100 Influencers

We looked at all the individuals engaging on Twitter to bring you a list of the top influential experts discussing Pharma & Biotech. Below we have a list of the top 50 influencers discussing Pharma & Biotechnology online. If you want to see who ranks from 51 – 100 be sure to download the full report by filling the form in below.

RankTwitter HandleNameRoleInfluencer Score
1@DrTedrosTedros Adhanom GhebreyesusPolitical/Government Professional100
2@AndyBiotechAndy BiotechFinServ Professional82.90
3@GregHuntMPGreg HuntPolitician80.22
4@LifeSciVCBruce BoothFinServ Professional75.93
5@NIHDirectorFrancis S. CollinsPolitical/Government Professional67.90
6@Insect_SciencesHongmei Li-ByarlayAcademic/Researcher53.78
7@eperlsteEthan PerlsteinC-suite52.05
8@AnnaSelmeckiAnna SelmeckiAcademic/Researcher50.59
9@GaviSethSeth BerkleyC-suite50.38
10@ScottGottliebMDScott GottliebPolitical/Government Professional49.96
11@BursatilBiotechMágali UrquizaEntrepreneur46.69
12@drcwestphalChristoph WestphalEntrepreneur44.13
13@asiepelAdam SiepelAcademic/Researcher43.98
14@DrMRosenblattMichael RosenblattC-suite43.73
15@ArturOleschArtur OleschJournalist43
16@JEPaquetEUJean-Eric PaquetPolitical/Government Professional42.37
17@adamfeuersteinAdam FeuersteinJournalist40.81
18@MD_BriggsMichael BriggsAcademic/Researcher40.64
19@TaslimarifTaslimarif SaiyedC-suite40.59
20@matthewherperMatthew HerperJournalist39.76
21@MedtechTinaTanTina TanJournalist36.03
22@cecilejanssensCecile JanssensAcademic/Researcher33.44
23@kiranshawKiran Mazumdar ShawSenior Management33.04
24@JohnCendptsJohn CarrollEntrepreneur30.29
25@HealthEugeneEugene BorukhovichSenior Management29.12
26@CaulfieldTimTimothy CaulfieldAcademic/Researcher28.69
27@ewanbirneyEwan BirneyAcademic/Researcher27.81
28@pknoepflerPaul KnoepflerAcademic/Researcher23.03
29@JamesFJordan3James F JordanAcademic/Researcher23.01
30@PeteSalamaPeter SalamaPolitical/Government Professional22.06
31@JohnArnoldFndtnJohn ArnoldSenior Management21.64
32@EllaWeggenElla WeggenSenior Management20.80
33@biogerontologyAlex ZhavoronkovEntrepreneur20.09
34@SaraNayeemSara NayeemSenior Management19.79
35@GaetanBurgioGaetan BurgioAcademic/Researcher19.59
36@C_GarthwaiteCraig GarthwaiteAcademic/Researcher18.27
37@OscarALizarazoOscar LizarazoAcademic/Researcher18.06
38@bradloncarBrad LoncarEntrepreneur17.99
39@abcdiagnosisJo TaylorEntrepreneur17.87
40@jan_noltaJan NoltaAcademic/Researcher17.72
41@VJsappsVijay SappaniEntrepreneur17.46
42@Quinn_LabDr Leonie QuinnAcademic/Researcher17.38
43@DunhamLabMaitreya DunhamAcademic/Researcher16.93
44@aaronquinlanAaron QuinlanAcademic/Researcher16.92
45@ElsTorreeleEls TorreeleSenior Management16.86
46@picardonhealthAndré PicardJournalist16.85
47@DerekloweDerek LoweAcademic/Researcher15.74
48@aledmedwardsAled EdwardsSenior Management15.28
49@BerciBerci MeskóSenior Management14.53
50@AnaisDelicAnaïs DelicourtManagement Consultant14.36


We have also identified the top 25 start-up brands within the Biotechnology & Drug Discovery sector. Below are 10 from the sample, to view all 25 be sure to download the full report.

Twitter HandleNameRole
@illuminaIlluminaUnited States
@LumiraVenturesLumira VenturesCanada
@Firefly_FundFirefly FundUnited States
@ontariogenomicsOntario GenomicsCanada
@syinvestingSY InvestingUnited States


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Disclaimer: As ever with these lists, it must be stressed that the ranking correlates to a strong indication of influence. The individuals listed here are undoubtedly influential when it comes to driving discussion around the above key topics. Onalytica’s PageRank based methodology is used to extract influential experts on a particular topic and takes into account the number and quality of contextual references that a user receives – this allows us to identify Topical Authority (reference) – our priority influence metric. We analyzed topical authority via their social engagement on Twitter and how much influential experts were referenced in association with pharma & biotech on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Forums, Blogs, News and Tumblr content. These calculations also take into account a user’s resonance (topical engagement) relevance (number of posts on topic, and % relevance – the proportion of their social content on the topic) and reach (number of followers). If you want to learn more, please read our article that outlines How to identify your target influencers.

At Onalytica we love building these lists and want to give back to our loyal readers as much as we can. If you’re interested in other topics (such as Virtual RealityDigital HealthDigital Marketing) be sure to have a look on our blog or why not propose some topics to us on Twitter? Effective influencer marketing starts with identifying relevant influential experts for your brand. Onalytica’s Discovery platform mines over 200 billion posts a year into a curated database of over 700K global social media influencers, including data from Twitter, Blogs, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn Profile Links + Demographic Data. Our software enables you to identify influencers by topic, demographic or content and includes real-time tracking and measurement reporting to scale your influencer relations.




Top 100 Pharma & Biotech

Start-ups and Influencers Changing Drug Discovery and Development