Germany dominates global league table of most influential pharma research institutions

German institutions have claimed four of the top 5 spots on Thomson Reuters' list of the most influential pharma research centers. A clean sweep of the top four positions was only prevented by Gilead Sciences ($GILD), which the report ranked second behind Goethe University Frankfurt Hospital.

Thomson Reuters came up with the list for its 2015 State of Innovation report by looking at the number of papers published by each institution and their citation impact from 2004 to 2014. The analysis resulted in German research centers--Goethe University Frankfurt Hospital, Ernst Moritz Arndt Universität Greifswald, University of Duisburg-Essen and University of Bonn--taking four of the top 5 spots. The German research sites were trailed by the University of California, Riverside, and China's Suzhou University on the list.

The impressiveness of the German dominance is partly offset by the exclusion of papers Thomson Reuters classes as biotech research from the pharma list. On the biotech list, Europe barely gets a look in, with only the United Kingdom's Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory preventing U.S. institutions from claiming all of the top 10 positions. The Broad Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute make up the top three on the biotech list.

Thomson Reuters splits the more industry-focused metric of numbers of patents up by region, making it impossible to tell how European research centers compare to their U.S. and Asian peers. Within Europe, Roche ($RHHBY) is classed as the top innovator in cancer from 2010 to 2014 by virtue of its position on the world patent index. Novartis ($NVS) and Sanofi ($SNY) occupy fourth and fifth place, respectively. In between the European pharma heavyweights sit French state research institutes Inserm and CNRS.

Roche also takes top spot on the pharma-focused list of most active innovators in the field of heterocyclic compounds. A who's who of European pharma trails Roche on the list, with Boehringer Ingelheim and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) joining the aforementioned Novartis and Sanofi in the top 5.

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