The windfall from COVID-19 vaccines and treatments has shaken up Pharm Exec’s latest listing of the top global biopharma sales producers in record-breaking fashion, but a likely leveling off—along with challenging patent and global climates—should shift some of the spotlight to anticipated non-COVID risers and perhaps more definitive maneuvering ahead.
If 2020 was the “Year of COVID,” as we referred to it in our Pharm Exec 50 feature last year—reflecting on the pandemic’s scope and disruption on all facets of life—then 2021 was surely the year of COVID vaccines and treatments. And, through the prism of our latest rankings of the top 50 global biopharma players based on prescription drug sales, one that will go down in the annals of commercial Rx output—even if just a short burst in time when looked back upon decades from now. To illustrate the pandemic’s historic jolt to our annual listing, rearranging several spots in the top half, attention first goes to mRNA vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna, with the former also delivering significant recent gains from its effective, if not somewhat controversial, antiviral therapy for COVID. In data again provided in partnership with Evaluate Ltd, the rankings, our 22nd, capture most recent full-year drug revenue performance. RandD’s total investment is also presented, as in the previous sections.
Last year, Pfizer recorded global prescription drug sales of $72 billion, including $37 billion generated from the COVID Comirnaty vaccine alone, making it the best-selling drug of all time. within a year with a large margin. Add to that $13.2 billion in first-quarter sales for Comirnaty in 2022, and the vaccine, developed in partnership with German biotech company BioNTech, has already rivaled sales. Lifetime cumulative sales of many blockbuster drugs. Paxlovid, Pfizer’s COVID pill, got FDA emergency use authorization in December 2021, hit $1.5 billion in sales in the first quarter and could be on the verge of becoming a selling non-vaccine drug. all-time best, if it meets Pfizer’s requirements. estimated at $22 billion. for 2022 (the company says it expects to produce 120 million treatments this year, and according to published reports, it doesn’t have to sell all of them to exceed 22 billion USD). If total production and acceleration materialize, Paxlovid will eclipse AbbVie’s $20.7 billion Humira sales in 2021 as the most profitable non-vaccine drug for now. That outlook has been met with recent setbacks, including a CDC warning about the potential for a “recovery” of COVID after taking Paxlovid.
Big profits, but will they last?
Pfizer and Moderna are among the few biopharmaceutical companies that have reaped the rewards of COVID after successful development projects. Given the aforementioned numbers, it’s no surprise that Pfizer has risen from #8 in our previous company rankings to #1 in the latest ledger, increasing Rx sales by 102%. . In fact, Comirnaty’s manufacturing operations alone would rank Pfizer in ninth place. In May, the pharma giant posted its best quarter in company history, with total revenue (not just Rx) of $25.6 billion; it expects full-year 2022 revenue of between $98 billion and $102 billion (though Pfizer did slightly cut earnings per share for the year in adjusted first-quarter guidance).
Sharing the mRNA platform step in COVID is Moderna’s Spievax vaccine, the vaccine that powers biotech based in Cambridge, Mass. in Pharma 50 for the first time after $17.7 billion in revenue in 2021. Moderna secured 17th place with $19.2 billion in total Rx revenue. The company sold $5.9 billion of its COVID vaccine in the first quarter of this year, and on its May earnings call, the company maintained its full-year guidance of $21 billion in sales. Spievax revenue. It should be noted that recently, the marketing rights of Spievax in Japan will be transferred from Takeda to Moderna from August 28. 1, two companies announced at the end of May.
Driven by the monoclonal antibody treatment, REGEN-COV (Ronapreve), to prevent COVID symptoms, Regeneron rose eight places in Pharma 50 to 20th, with a 118% increase to 12. $1.1 billion in prescription drug sales. REGEN-COV, effective against early variants of COVID, has reached $5.8 billion in sales in 2021.
Other notable pandemic-led jumps in our rankings include AstraZeneca (AZ), the owner of the Vaxzevria vaccine, which generated $4 billion in revenue last year, helping it grow. 41.5%.Rx and sales of two-seater to 9th place; Gilead Science moves up one place to 12th (and a 13.4% spike) behind antiviral drug Veklury (remdesivir), with sales of $5.6 billion; and Johnson and Johnson (JandJ), which generated Rx $49.8 billion in revenue in 2021, placing fourth on our list and up 15.5% year over year. The company’s COVID vaccine, marketed by the Janssen unit, made $2.39 billion in 2021. Perhaps next year’s consideration in our ranking will include treatments or vaccines that are authorized for emergency use or extended use in the US and/or Europe by the end of the year. 2021/early 2022 by Eli Lilly, Merck, GSK and Sanofi. (For example, sales of Lilly’s COVID antibodies bamlanivimab and etesevimab grew by $660 million in the first quarter of this year; the duo made $2.2 billion in 2021, and oral antivirals -Merck’s molnupiravir withdrawal reached $3.2 billion in the first quarter).
The million-dollar (or billion-dollar) question is how long these stubborn headwinds will last. Analysts agree that the first licensed products during the pandemic may have peaked or will peak this year, and sales will likely start to decline from there. But proper context must also be considered in the equation – after all, the pandemic represents an extremely unique and unforeseen situation for the life sciences and healthcare industries, which caused an unprecedented response in RandD and ultimately in the distribution and supply of products; Therefore, comparing sales of COVID products to other drugs in the traditional sense may not be a fair exercise. However, a potential new high after this year is unlikely in the near future. Review of Vantage editors interviewed by Pharm Exec citing trends such as falling demand for COVID vaccines and drugs, as well as supply issues and changes in the primary origin of contracts. future co-government. Lisa Urquhart, editor of London-based Vantage Review, said: “I think most of the developed Western nations that can afford to pay higher prices have already bought up their stockpile of vaccines. “There is debate [in the UK] about whether a fourth [dose] vaccine is needed beyond those who are immunocompromised and vulnerable. If the US follows suit and new strains follow continues to be lighter, so I think some sales targets may not come true. It also means that you will now have to start selling outside the Western world in emerging markets where your profit margins will be much lower.
Consensus for Comirnaty’s revenue in 2023 will be around $17 billion. Project revenue estimates for Comirnaty and Paxlovid are between $2 billion and $4 billion in 2025, respectively. In the more immediate Paxlovid framework, Urquhart points to uncertainties about the number of new contracts. signed in the first quarter and the amount of ground needed to meet Pfizer’s $22 billion annual goal. She also notes the use of Paxlovid is quite strict, with some contraindications, such as in patients with diabetes and hypertension. According to Review, the consensus for Moderna’s Spievax is about $2 billion in annual revenue by 2026. The company’s post-COVID strategy will be closely watched (Moderna’s system includes a candidate in phase III trials for respiratory syncytial virus, as well as early-stage projects in infectious diseases). flu and cancer, as well as lawsuits in COVID).
Earlier this year, AZ executives predicted a 20-year decline in Vaxzevria by 2022 (although the company is in the new RandD antibody business), and in April JandJ reported reported $457 million in first-quarter revenue for its vaccine, far short of Wall Street Estimates. These findings, attributed to weak demand and oversupply in low-income countries, prompted JandJ to remove vaccines from its revenue forecast. Regeneron had no first-quarter sales in the United States for REGEN-COV after the FDA revoked approval in January due to poor performance relative to omicrons. Roche, which markets the drug outside of the United States under a profit-sharing agreement with Regeneron, reported revenue of $636 million for the period.
Add to the mix ongoing macroeconomic challenges to navigate, such as the war in Ukraine, supply chain issues caused by China, and global inflation; a volatile MandA and seller valuation climate that has shown little sign of abating; and an impeding “patent winter,” which analysts contend will be the most painful period of branded sales erosion in at least 30 years, and the overall picture for the Pharma 50 could turn a bit unsettled as the decade progresses.
Spurred by COVID vaccines and therapies, US spending on pharmaceuticals rose 12% last year, according to a report by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, and the rate of new prescriptions for chronic and acute care largely recovered from the 2020 pandemic-sparked slowdown. To that end, several organizations with no COVID products in our rankings delivered solid gains in 2021 Rx sales, none more than the strong surge made by AbbVie. Prescription drug revenue for the North Chicago-based pharma skyrocketed almost $11 billion to $55 billion last year, moving AbbVie up one spot to No. 2 behind Pfizer. As mentioned, Humira, the company’s flagship, brought in record sales, a number it may eclipse this year before the anti-inflammatory stalwart goes off patent in the US in 2023 and biosimilar competition begins (the majority of Humira’s sales come from the US; it is already off patent in Europe). While Humira won’t benefit from a total of more than $20 billion after 2023, Urquhart doesn’t think U.S. sales will drop as dramatically as has happened in Europe due to a different reimbursement structure. U.S. physicians substitute biosimilars for branded products and “patent-thick” type agreements that initiating companies sometimes enter into.
Combined with the sequels Humira Skyrizi (an IL-23 inhibitor for psoriasis) and Rinvoq (JAK inhibitor) – each has seen a significant increase in sales since its launch in 2019, with The following section continues to add new and recent major indications that show promise in late-stage Crohn’s disease – with the steady rise of the leukemia drug Venclexta, analysts remain optimistic that the AbbVie’s force will continue. In fact, according to extended consensus forecasts gathered by Review, AbbVie will become the largest pharmaceutical company by Rx sales by 2028. Roche is expected to come in at second, followed by JandJ (which will divest from the consumer healthcare business next year). years to focus more on the Rx brand), Merck and Pfizer.
Amy Brown, project editor and special report for Vantage Review, told Pharm Exec that the Skyrizi and Rinvoq duo together are expected to gross $18 billion by 2026. “Rinvoq’s recent approval for the treatment of atopic dermatitis is significant,” says Brown. It was cleared by the FDA in January for patients 12 years of age and older with moderate to severe persistent disease unresponsive to oral medications.
The top five spots on our list are rounded off by Novartis in third, up 8.3% to $51.1 billion; JandJ, as mentioned; and Roche, which rose from first to fifth, rose 3.8% to $49.3 billion. Roche, which has led RandD’s spending for the past two years, remains strong in the sector, investing $13.1 billion, trailing just Pfizer’s $13.8 billion. Merck and JandJ also topped RandD’s double-digit spending, with $12.2 billion and $11.8 billion, respectively; Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) is close to $9.5 billion and Novartis has invested $9 billion. Driven by pandemic investments, the 11 largest pharma companies have seen their aggregate RandD investments grow 11% in 2021, exceeding $100 billion for the first time. la, according to Review.
Commercially, JandJ and Roche will face notable patent expirations in the coming years — Stelara ($9.1 billion in 2021 sales) next year and Ocrevus ($5.5 billion in revenue) next year. dollars) in 2029, respectively. Roche’s new drug for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema, Vabysmo, approved by the FDA in January, has projected Review sales of $1.8 billion in 2019. 2026. In partnership with PTC Therapeutics, Roche also won a significant label extension in May for the spinal muscular atrophy drug Evrysdi, which is now licensed for all ages. Novartis made the news in April with plans to restructure its global operations, combining the company’s pharmaceutical and oncology units. The move fired three senior executives and signaled impending layoffs, but was done to bolster Novartis’ presence in the US market. Quarterly sales of heart drug Entresto jumped 42% to $1.1 billion.
The remaining stocks in the top 10 Pharma 50, each increased or decreased by one or two places, including BMS in 6th place; Merck in 7th place, Sanofi in 8th place; AZ, as mentioned, takes ninth place and GSK is in 10th place. Every Rx sale posted increases year over year. Of this group, BMS is under the most pressure to stay, with three blockbuster products facing patent hammers – Revlimid (an old Celgene product) this year, Eliquis in 2026, and therapy PD-1 Opdivo cancer immunology by 2028. Merck’s Keytruda, PD-1, which has sales of Rx $17.2 billion in 2021 and has accumulated many signs, will lose its patent exclusivity in 2028 and its patents to the disease powerhouse Januvia diabetes is expected to expire next month. Camzyos, approved in the United States in April as the first drug to treat an inherited form of heart failure known as hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, has the potential to offset the impending patent loss to with BMS.
As Novartis, Sanofi, and GSK are undergoing restructuring, with Sanofi focusing on reducing its overall drug supply, and GSK splitting its consumer healthcare business into a standalone company. called Haleon, is expected to officially launch next month. The new company is the result of GSK and Pfizer merging their consumer healthcare units in 2019. According to published reports, Pfizer intends to sell its 32% stake in Haleon, generates $16 billion worth of cash flows. At the end of May, GSK agreed to acquire the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical Affinivax for up to $3.3 billion. This agreement will add new pneumococcal vaccine candidates to GSK’s system and support GSK’s development of specific vaccines and drugs.
Of the top 20 Pharma 50 participants, Lilly rose one place to 13, with Rx sales up 15% (last month, the company won early approval for the diuretic drug. its new route, Mounjaro, is expected to compete with the co-GLP-1 receptor agonist Wegovy, which is manufactured by Novo Nordisk and has strong potential for obesity); and Takeda, despite falling to 11th place, sales of Rx increased by 6.1%. Two of its best-selling products, Vyvanse and Gammagard Liquid, have emerged from acquisitions, Urquhart said, reflecting Takeda’s pro-MandA bias, rather than the traditional stance of Japanese companies, Urquhart said. Statement on foreign transactions, presumably by the CEO of Takeda. who has led the company since 2015.
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