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Now Available: 50 Disruptive Companies 2013 See The 2013 List »

The 50 Most Innovative Companies 2011

Biomedicine

Public Companies

Complete Genomics

Why: Many doctors and researchers lack the resources to sequence genomes and analyze them themselves.
Key innovation: Sells sequencing as a service, analyzing DNA samples that customers send in.

Geron

Why: Embryonic stem cells provide a potential source of replacement tissue for use in treating an array of degenerative diseases and injuries.
Key innovation: Has begun clinical trials for a spinal-cord therapy derived from these cells.

Life Technologies

Why: Quick, cheap DNA sequencing will lead to new diagnostic test and targeted treatments.
Key innovation: Its desktop gene-sequencing machines costs $50,000, about a 10th as much as other machines.

Novartis

Why: Understanding molecular pathways of rare diseases can shed light on common ones.
Key innovation: Introduced the first medication for patients with benign brain tumors associated with a particular genetic disorder; now the drug is approved for treatment of kidney cancer and is in testing for other types.

Pacific Biosciences

Why: DNA sequencing provides a way to detect microbes in the environment and monitor the spread of viruses in our bodies.
Key innovation:Its sequencing machine can read single strands of DNA in real time.

Roche

Why: Drugs that target genetic mutations unique to cancer cells may be more effective than ones that act more broadly.
Key innovation: A new drug blogs the effects of a mutation thought to be present in as many as 8 percent of all cancers.