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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Epstein-Barr virus: Trigger and driver of multiple sclerosis?

Microscopic view of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), stained with Hematoxylin and eosin (HE). This color image highlights abnormal cells or tissue associated with EBV, a virus linked to several types of cancer and other disorders. Source: National Cancer Institute.

Recent research has indicated a link between Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and multiple sclerosis (MS), with some researchers going as far as to say that EBV might be a potential trigger of MS. However, it remains unclear whether the virus also drives the progression of the disease. Current treatments focus largely on moderating inflammation. In this article, we expand on the hypothesized correlation between MS and EBV, and underscore the need to consider antiviral protection in drug development.


Multiple sclerosis. MS is an unpredictable and debilitating neurological autoimmune disease that turns the body’s immune system against itself, …

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How Karius aims to transform the diagnosis of infections with a non-invasive liquid biopsy

The startup Karius aims to help establish a world where infectious disease is no longer a major threat to human health.

“It’s an audacious vision,” said Dr. Brad Perkins, chief medical officer at Karius. “But I think it’s commensurate with the platform we’ve developed and continue to evolve.”

The Redwood City, California-based company has developed Karius Test, a liquid biopsy for infectious diseases that can detect more than one thousand pathogens from a single blood draw.

Dr. Bradley Perkins [Image courtesy of Karius]

The test works by detecting microbial cell-free DNA (mcfDNA) in the bloodstream from likely pathogens causing an infection.

“If we can accelerate and improve diagnosis while making it safer, the notion is that clinicians will ultimately be better able to treat infectious diseases,” Perkins said.

Karius says its tech…

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The transformation of precision medicine in infectious disease

Phage image courtesy of Locus Biosciences

Before Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, another more selective antibacterial agent rose to popularity in the early 1900s: bacteriophage.

In 1917, microbiologist Felix d’Herelle was tasked with identifying the cause of a dysentery outbreak impacting French troops. From his research, he noticed that Shigella bacteria was the primary culprit of this affliction. He then discovered an invisible microorganism that targeted and eliminated the dysentery bacillus, or rod-shaped bacteria, which he eventually named ‘bacteriophage’ (also known by the shorthand ‘phage’) for its supposed bacteria-eating capabilities. D’Herelle would later apply this knowledge to successfully treat children suffering from severe dysentery at the Hospital des Enfants Malades in Paris and create cures for other pathogens like cholera and typhoid. Encouraged by d’Herelle’s contributions and si…

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