The global pharmaceutical industry held up well during the pandemic, with 10 of the largest businesses only seeing a roughly –3% drop in revenue in 2020. Eight of the 10 even came out ahead.
That’s one of the big takeaways from Drug Discovery & Development’s inaugural Pharma 50, a compilation of data on the largest pharma companies in the world. (Browse data on all 50 companies here.)
Overall, the 50 largest pharma companies brought in $851 billion in sales in 2020. Pharma companies also overcame COVID-19-related clinical trial disruption and staffing hurdles, driving unprecedented R&D advances to introduce novel vaccines and therapies to battle the pandemic. The resulting shift in public perception could benefit the industry for years to come.
One of the most notable achievements involved the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, according to analyst Mani Foroohar at SVB Leerink.
Other achievements, according to Foroohar, include Novartis’ Zolgensma treatment for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) — a rare and sometimes fatal genetic disease in children.
“This is graduation day,” Foroohar said. “After 10 to 20 years of preparation and investment, genetic medicines are ready for prime time on a commercial basis.”
Here is how 10 of the largest pharmaceutical companies performed in 2020. (Check out all 50 companies here.)
|Company||2020 Revenue Change (%)|
|Sinopharm (pharmaceutical distribution segment)||+3.25%|
|Roche Pharmaceuticals (division of Roche Group)||–4.17%|
|Janssen (Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical segment)||+8.00%|
* Note: Bristol Myers Squibb and AbbVie are left off the list because major acquisitions greatly increased 2020 revenue.
The Pharma 50 project was a team effort including pharma editor Brian Buntz and executive editor Chris Newmarker. Senior editor Danielle Kirsh assisted with company descriptions.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery and Development
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