Pharma giants in 2023: Breaking down revenue streams by leading product categories

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The pharma sector saw robust revenues across several key therapeutic areas in the second quarter of 2023, with oncology, immunology, and infectious diseases leading the pack. Merck’s blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda maintained its oncology dominance with sales topping $6 billion, while AbbVie’s Humira regained its crown as the world’s best-selling drug despite new competition. Gilead’s HIV regimen Biktarvy and Merck’s human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil also posted strong growth. Additionally, neurology emerged as an area of expansion for companies like Roche, AbbVie and Biogen.

Our breakdown of 2023 pharma revenue by product categories, based on an analysis of Q2 data from 15 Big Pharma companies, reveals that oncology led the way with revenues surpassing $52 billion. Following closely was immunology with over $23 bil…

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Major pharma players ST Pharm, Astellas and Celltrion unveil ambitious expansion blueprints

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A handful of pharma companies, including ST Pharm, Astellas Pharma, Avalon Pharma, and Celltrion have recently announced expansion projects.

Major pharma expansion efforts underway in South Korea

South Korean CDMO firm ST Pharm announced a second manufacturing facility in its home country — in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province. The plant is geared toward supporting burgeoning demand for oligonucleotide active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The 1.1 trillion won investment speaks to the company’s dedication to advancing the oligonucleotide API sector. The company has supplied nucleoside-API’s for global pharma customers since the 1980s.

Also in South Korea, Celltrion is setting aside 126 million South Korean won for a new manufacturing plant at its Songdo campus near Seoul. Expected to be operational by 2027, this facility will have an annual production capacity of 8 million vials…

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Compass Pathways names board member at pivotal moment for psychedelic industry

Compass Pathways has named biotech exec Daphne Karydas to its board. Karydas is the president and chief financial officer of Flare Therapeutics Inc., which is developing drug discovery programs targeting transcription factors for cancer and other diseases. Signs point to a potential FDA approval of psilocybin and MDMA under strict controls in the coming years, but the psychedelic therapy market has seen significant volatility in recent years. Since the company went public in September 2020, Compass has seen its valuation drop by more than two-thirds. Its stock, however, has shown some recent resilience rebounding by 17.49% year-to-date.

The volatility isn’t unique to Compass. Fellow psychedelic stock company ATAI Life Sciences NV (NASDAQ:ATAI) has seen its valuation plummet by 93% since its debut in mid-2021. The market fluctuations mirror the challenges of navigating the psychedelic therapy space, increasing the need for seasoned leadership.

In addi…

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Pfizer beefs up while J&J slims to focus on oncology

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Both Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer are gearing up to release third-quarter results. While J&J continues to display resilience with its diverse portfolio, Pfizer continues to face challenges with waning demand for its COVID-19 therapies.

To date, Pfizer’s stock is down by roughly a third so far this year, reflecting concerns over its ability to maintain the sky-high revenue levels driven by its COVID-19 portfolio. Also reflecting this trend is moderate volatility in its stock price

J&J, on the other hand, has seen a more modest dip in its stock price so far in 2023 — 8.82% to $162.47. Unlike Pfizer, J&J’s diverse portfolio, spanning consumer health, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices, provides it with a more balanced revenue stream. The company has also been active in addressing challenges, from legal issues to the loss of exclusivity for key drugs li…

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Novartis’s Sandoz spin-off and Sanofi’s portfolio slim-down reflect pharma push toward specialization

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Modern pharma: Evolving through specialized strategies

The pharmaceutical trend toward increasing concentration appears to be gaining momentum. On September 15, Novartis shareholders approved the company’s proposed spinoff of Sandoz, the generics and biosimilars unit. The company anticipates the deal to close in early October. Similarly, Sanofi is also taking a scalpel to its operations, offloading a selection of its central nervous system medications to Pharmanovia.

Sanofi, similar to several other of its pharma peers, is aiming to realign its portfolio, emphasizing areas where it can drive innovation and deliver robust growth.

Last week, Johnson & Johnson, for instance, announced a rebrand that traded its historic ‘Janssen’ pharma moniker for ‘Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine.’ The move is part of a broader initiative to priorit…

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New Bayer CEO Bill Anderson’s move to cut management mirrors his Roche playbook

Bill Anderson, who assumed leadership of Bayer in June, is eyeing cuts to the company’s mid- and upper-management. In addition to the cost-savings, Anderson expects the cuts to streamline decision-making. The moves are part of Anderson’s first step in bolder initiative to revamp Bayer’s operational dynamics in the face of investor pressures.

It is relatively rare for an American to lead a major German company. One notable precedent was Bill McDermott at SAP, who made history of the first American CEO of the software company in 2014. At the helm of the software giant, McDermott touted cloud-based evolution, helped introduce the in-memory database platform SAP HANA, prioritized a customer-centric approach, and championed sustainability initiatives.

Anderson, much like McDermott, appears to have bold moves in mind at Bayer. In addition to the cost-savings, he expects these cuts to streamline decision-making. This approach reflects Anderson’s ambi…

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Pfizer’s revenue soared in the pandemic, but its stock valuation slipped relative to industry peers since 2000

In recent years, Pfizer has emerged as the largest Big Pharma firm. In 2022, its revenue surpassed $100 billion for the first time. But even though the pandemic has cemented the company as a leading pharmaceutical powerhouse — with a healthy M&A appetite — it does not count among the upper echelon of public companies by market capitalization. The Pfizer market cap analysis below shows the company’s ups and downs.

The situation, however, was different in 2000, when Pfizer was the ninth largest company with a market share of $202 billion — approximately $357.54 billion today, according to an analysis from City Index, a financial services firm. The data below comes courtesy of City Index.

While Pfizer’s market cap surged from 2020 to December 2021, it began to fall in early 2022. The main driver of the decrease is plunging demand for Pfizer’s COVID vaccine and Paxlovid. In the second quarter of 2023, the company reported revenue of $12.7 billion,…

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PBMs increasingly under fire in drug-pricing battle

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As the national debate over drug pricing ramps up, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) find themselves squarely in the spotlight. PhRMA, which has also criticized hospitals for marking up drug prices by as much as 500%, launched a seven-figure ad campaign targeting proposals in Congress to lower drug prices.

PhRMA, which counts companies such as Pfizer, Novartis, and Merck & Co. as members, finds itself on the defensive as the federal government and the public demand greater transparency and accountability in drug pricing. A recent study from KFF found that 82% of adults believe the cost of prescription drugs is unreasonable.

As prices for new drugs continue to soar, PhRMA is taking a proactive approach in its messaging. Instead of touting innovation as it has done in the past, the ____ is ramping up attacks on intermediaries like PBMs as driving up costs.

For instance, in a recent PhRMA ad titled…

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White House targets blockbusters in Medicare’s price negotiation strategy

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The Biden-Harris Administration has nominated 10 drugs for price negotiations directly with pharmaceutical giants after capping monthly insulin costs at $35.

Americans have historically paid more for prescription drugs than most other major economies. In a fact sheet, the White House highlighted that seniors paid $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs for these drugs just last year. Biden, like Trump before him, aim to bring prices more in line with those of other advanced nations.

This move is not isolated. The Biden Administration has implemented other cost-saving measures, such as reining in the cost of insulin and making some vaccines free for Medicare beneficiaries.

All of the 10 drugs on the list were blockbusters. Eight of the 10 were among the bestselling drugs of 2022. The remaining two are insulin formulations from Novo Nordisk: Fiasp and NovoLog.

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FTC approves Amgen-Horizon merger

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has signed off on Amgen’s proposed $27.8 billion purchase of Horizon Therapeutics . The acquisition, one of the largest pharma deals in recent years, is set to close in the early fourth quarter of 2022.

The agreement resolves an FTC lawsuit filed in May attempting to block the deal over antitrust concerns. FTC did not entirely let Amgen off the hook, however, as it is prohibiting Amgen from bundling two of Horizon’s top drugs — the thyroid eye disease therapy Tepezza (teprotumumab-trbw) and gout medicine Krystexxa (pegloticase). The agency also will require Amgen to get FTC approval before it acquires any products treating the same diseases as Tepezza and Krystexxa until 2032. The agency also set other requirements that will be in place for 15 years. State attorneys general agreed to dismiss their suits as part of the deal.

Amgen-Horizon merger announced in late 2022

Amgen said the deal with FTC would have no impac…

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A closer look at the drugs accounting for a fifth of Medicare’s spending

As Medicare prepares to negotiate drug prices directly with pharma companies, the White House has selected 10 drugs that make up 20% — one-fifth — of Medicare’s annual spending. Our analysis provides a deep dive into these drugs, including their costs, the number of enrollees depending on them and the significant price hikes since their market debut. Data comes courtesy of a CMS fact sheet and AARP research, which quantifies the degree of price escalations since the drugs’ debut.

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HHS awards more than $1 billion to advance next-gen COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $1.4 billion to support vaccine clinical trials to test new, more effective and longer-lasting COVID-19 vaccines. In all, Project NextGen is a $5 billion initiative from Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The aim of the program is to identify and address strengths and weaknesses of current COVID-19 therapies and vaccines, as well as the back the development of next-gen COVID-19 vaccines and therapies

The latest funding announcement announced allots $1 billion for vaccine clinical trials, $326 million for a new monoclonal antibody and another $100 million to spark innovation of novel vaccine and therapeutic technologies. 

Towards next-gen COVID-19 vaccines and therapies

Regeneron alone received $326 million under the program, dubbed Project NextGen. The funding for the Tarrytown, New York–bas…

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