The pharmaceutical industry comprises companies that engage in research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of chemical and biological drugs for human and veterinary use as well as traditional herbal products, medical devices, and cosmetics. The following is a list of the world’s best pharmaceutical companies. These companies play major roles in the impressive growth of the pharma industry we see today.
The global pharmaceutical industry is expected to witness positive growth as the best pharmaceutical companies are at forefront of the fight against COVID-19.
1. Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) consumer health segment recorded a 0.3% increase in revenues, majorly contributed by sales in the US market along with acquisitions and divestitures, which had a positive impact of 1.6% on sales growth.
Revenues of the pharmaceutical division grew by 3.6%, driven by the immunology ($13.95bn) and oncology ($10.69bn) portfolio.
J&J expects minor disruption to its pharmaceutical business in 2020 although growth is projected to remain above-market growth.
J&J is working towards the development of a COVID-19 vaccine through the Ad26 vector technology and PER.C6 manufacturing platform.
Johnson & Johnson is among the 2021’s best pharmaceutical companies.
2. F. Hoffmann-La Roche
F. Hoffmann-La Roche, a Swiss multinational research-based healthcare company, takes the second spot on our list of best pharmaceutical companies in the world. Since its inception in 1896, the company has been committed to improving lives. Today, Roche creates innovative medicines and diagnostic tests that help millions of patients globally.
Roche is the world’s largest spender in pharmaceutical research and development and the world’s number 1 in biotech with 17 biopharmaceuticals on the market. Roche is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland.
Pfizer recorded a 4% decline in revenues with the biopharma segment accounting for 76.2% of the revenues. International markets contributed to 54% of the company’s revenues that were driven by the sales of anti-infective products in China, including its antibiotic drug Sulperazon.
The company formed a joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to combine their consumer healthcare businesses. Pfizer owns a 32% equity interest in the joint venture while GSK owns the remainder.
The Upjohn business segment was announced to be combined with Mylan to form a new pharmaceutical company named Viatris.
Pfizer’s sales were impacted in the first quarter of 2020 due to the lockdown restrictions and a decline in inpatient visits. The company plans to increase investment in research and development by $500m towards the development of anti-infective products and a COVID-19 vaccine named BNT162 mRNA. Phase 2b/3 trials on the vaccine began in July 2020 while regulatory approval is expected in the fourth quarter of 2020, based on the results.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the areas of health care and agriculture. The German-based company was established more than 150 years ago and today it is one of the largest corporations in the world.
Presently, the Bayer Group comprised 392 consolidated companies in 87 countries. In 2019, the company generated 48.770 billion US dollars (43,545 million euros) as revenue.
Ranked 5th on our list of the world’s best pharmaceutical companies is a Switzerland-based healthcare company, Novartis. Novartis provides solutions to address the evolving needs of patients globally.
The company is also discovering and developing breakthrough treatments also finds new ways to deliver them to as many people as possible. In 2019, Novartis generated total revenue of some 47.5 billion U.S. dollars.
6. Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding
Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding (SPH) reported a year-on-year increase of 17.27% in its 2019 revenues. The pharmaceutical service segment accounted for 87.4% of the revenues while the pharmaceutical manufacturing segment accounted for the rest.
SPH collaborated with several colleges and universities during the year for the development of new drugs and therapies. It also formed a joint venture with Russian biopharmaceutical company BIOCAD for the development of biopharmaceutical products and signed co-operation agreements with Alembic and Adia, both based in India. The company inked an agreement to in-license a new stroke medication, LT3001, from Lumosa Therapeutics, a company based in Taiwan.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected the company’s revenues due to the lockdown measures implemented in China. The business divisions faced issues with securing raw materials, along with the shortage of labor. SPH also increased the production of several anti-virus, antibiosis, immune regulation, and preventive drugs in response to COVID-19.
Revenues of Roche’s pharmaceutical division increased by 11% year-on-year, driven by sales of new medicines, including Ocrevus, Hemlibra, Tecentriq, and Perjeta. Tecentriq, the oncology segment and Actemra/RoActemra and Esbriet in immunology also contributed significantly to the company’s revenues despite the negative performance of the biosimilars business in Europe and Japan.
Competition from biosimilars particularly of MabThera/Rituxan, Herceptin, and Avastin in the US impacted sales by $1.55bn. The company reported a 36% growth in China due to broader market penetration, although the US remained the biggest contributor to its sales, followed by Europe and Japan.
The COVID-19 pandemic expects to have a positive impact on Roche’s sales. The company’s oncology drugs Actemra/RoActemra investigated in clinical phase three trials to determine their safety and efficacy in treating severe COVID-19 pneumonia. The production capacity of the drugs is planned to be increased based on the results.
8. Merck & Co.
Merck & Co. reported an 11% year-on-year increase in revenues driven by oncology, human health vaccines, and animal health divisions. International sales, led by China, contributed a moderately higher percentage to the company’s revenues. Sales in China grew by 47%, driven by Keytruda and Gardasil/Gardasil 9.
In 2019, Merck received approval for ERVEBO® (Ebola Zaire Vaccine, Live) for the prevention of disease caused by Zaire ebolavirus in individuals aged 18 years and older.
Merck completed the acquisition of clinical-stage biopharmaceutical companies, including Peloton Therapeutics, Immune Design, and ArQule to strengthen its oncology portfolio. It also acquired Antelliq Group to strengthen its animal health business. Merck expects a revenue impact of $2.1bn in 2020 due to the unfavorable conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. It started recruitment for trials on its experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidate in September 2020. It has also collaborated with the Institute for Systems Biology and is part of the NIH-led Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV consortium) to develop vaccine and drug candidates against the disease.
Sanofi registered a 4.8% year-on-year increase in revenues majorly contributed by flagship products of its pharmaceutical division led by insulin drug Lantus®, deep vein thrombosis medication Lovenox, and antiplatelet medication Plavix®. Emerging markets accounted for 30.2% of the company’s sales during the year.
Major developments during the year included the approval of Libtayo® for the treatment of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and Cablivi® for the treatment of acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Sanofi announced that its consumer healthcare business will establish a standalone business while divesting its stake in Regeneron.
Sanofi expects its business to continue to grow in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is collaborating with Translate Bio to develop an mRNA vaccine. It is also collaborating with the Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority to develop a vaccine.
AbbVie recorded a 2.7% increase in revenues in 2019 despite competition from biosimilars for its flagship rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira, which accounted for 58% of the company’s revenues. Other flagship products including IMBRUVICA, MAVYRET, VENCLEXTA, Lupron, and Creon contributed to approximately 30% of the company’s revenues. The US market accounted for 71.8% of the company’s revenues, while international markets accounted for the rest.
Drug approvals during the year included SKYRIZI for the treatment of plaque psoriasis and RINVOQ for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. AbbVie announced plans to acquire Allergan, a company specialized in medical aesthetics, neuroscience, women’s health, and eyecare. The acquisition excepts to deliver significant cash flow and diversify its revenue base. The company also signed license agreements with Reata Pharmaceuticals, Calico Life Sciences, and Alector to develop therapies for various indications.
COVID-19 had no major impact on the company’s business during the first quarter of 2020. AbbVie is currently evaluating IMBRUVICA in a phase two trial to treat patients with moderate to severe COVID-19. It is also evaluating the efficacy and safety of KALETRA/ALUVIA against COVID-19. The company has collaborated with health authorities, the National Institutes of Health, and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop therapies for COVID-19 treatment.