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Pharm Exec’s 16th annual listing of the top biopharma players may look placid on the surface, but, upon deeper inspection, does point to important transitions taking place in the larger business model.
Though the companies represented in the top 50 of global sales leaders have remained remarkably stable over time, their relative positioning within the list continues to shift. This reflects the importance that product launches and innovative campaigns to grow existing medications at every stage of the product life cycle now play in building a sales advantage against truly brutal levels of competition. It helps explain why Pfizer resumes its position this year as the industry’s prescription sales leader, displacing Novartis in the No. 1 ranking by widening its therapeutic franchise in vaccines-a segment that Novartis recently abandoned-with a strong performance for its multi-indication pneumoccocal preventive, Prevnar 13.
Further down the list, we also find signs of a pause in the once heady ascent of what Pharm Exec calls the “stealth” players: middle-rank companies with records of product innovation and new-age marketing that could propel them to the top 10. So far, only one of the “stealths” has accomplished that feat: Gilead Sciences, which two years ago leaped from 25th place to 9th last year, with its breakthrough hepatitis C cure breaking all sales records. But, in another sign of the relentless pressure to perform above expectations, Wall Street now says
it’s time for an encore; without one, the company’s continued place on the pole posting of privilege is not guaranteed.
Likewise, the entry of a generic player to the top ranks is still an object on the horizon. Despite the certainty of a larger portfolio as Teva acquires Allergan’s generics business, its move to the top 10 is contingent on bucking the threat that price deflation, launch delays, other regulatory challenges and dwindling LOE opportunities pose to the generic sector’s overall bottom line.
Ultimately, it’s all about the quality and scale of the product franchise-and how effectively that franchise is managed and executed across every element of the biopharma operations playbook.
That’s why a special feature accompanying this year’s Pharma 50 list highlights what we at Pharm Exec continue to insist is the value hidden in a company’s human assets. In what is now a global war for talent, commitment to diversity and inclusion in human capital is an across-the-board competitive differentiator.
Our guest authors at the executive recruitment and talent management firm Russell Reynolds Associates put it succinctly: Diversity is the hardware that brings different machines together. Inclusion is the software that brings the system to life. Well said-and a call to action for every biopharma company who has a place in our Pharma 50 or aspires to it.
See how the top 50 biopharma revenue generators stack up below (click on the tables to enlarge). The rankings also include each company's top-selling products in 2015 and their total R&D investment for the year. Pharm Exec would like to acknowledge the contributions of market intelligence firm Evaluate Ltd for once again providing the data for our annual feature. For details on how the listings were compiled, see the explainer below.