Novartis still biggest drugmaker; Gilead sees huge growth
A strong sales year for its prescription products and participation in emerging markets enabled Novartis Corp. to maintain its position as the largest pharmaceutical company in 2014. Meanwhile, Actavis saw a 50.5% revenue increase, and Biogen’s revenue grew by 40%.
Sales of Novartis products introduced in 2009 or later or that have exclusivity until at least 2018 in key markets rose 18% to $18.6 billion in 2014, or 32% of the company’s net sales. Gilenya, a treatment for multiple sclerosis, brought in $2.5 billion in 2014, the company said in its annual 10-K report. Afinitor, a treatment for breast and kidney cancer, garnered $1.6 bil- lion in sales, up 22% over the prior year. Tasigna, a treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia, saw $1.5 billion in sales, up 24%. Overall, Novartis’ net sales reached $58 billion in 2014, a slight increase over 2013.
The company said efforts to expand its presence in new markets such as Asia, Africa and Latin America led to higher net sales. Sales were up 18% in Brazil and 15% in China, and rose 11% overall in emerging markets.
Novartis gained 13 major approvals in key markets in 2014, most notably Zykadia, a U.S. drug that treats lung cancer, Novartis spokeswoman Elizabeth Power said.
The 2015 outlook is positive, Novartis reported. It received approval in January in the U.S. and Europe for Cosentyx, which treats psoriasis. The company also received approval from the European Commission to produce Jakavi, a drug that treats a rare form of blood cancer, she said.
Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences, based in Foster City, Calif., saw its total revenue skyrocket 122% to $24.9 billion in 2014, ranking it number eight among drugmakers. The company credited sales of Sovaldi and Harvoni, both used to treat hepatitis C, and Stribild and Complera/Eviplera, both used to treat HIV. Gilead’s overall product sales were $24.5 billion in 2014, compared with $10.8 billion in 2013.
Gilead said while it doesn’t expect the same huge growth in 2015 as in 2014, it plans to expand in Japan and anticipates the profitable introduction of Sovaldi and Harvoni there.
Pfizer’s revenue dropped nearly 4% in 2014 to $49.6 billion. The company said the expiration in the U.S. and Canada of the co-promotion term of collaboration agreement for Enbrel, a treatment for plaque psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, cost it $1.4 billion in 2014. It also noted the continued erosion of branded Lipitor.