7. Taro Pharmaceutical Industries

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By Nesa Nourmohammadi

2011 generic drug sales: $436 million
Growth rate 2011: 33%
Growth rate 2010: 11%

Given the high-profile and long-running legal battle between Taro Pharmaceutical Industries ($TARO) and India's Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, most people know Taro as the feisty Israeli drugmaker that refuses to make it easy for Sun to achieve its buyout aspirations. All that tug-of-war threatens to overshadow the reasons why Taro seemed so enticing in the first place.

Those reasons? Its products. Consider 2010 and 2011, when Taro received FDA nods to market generic versions of the antihistamine Zyrtec for children, the immune response modifier Aldara, the skin cancer drug Efudex, and more, hoping to cash in on hundreds of millions' worth of sales that fueled their original developers.

Those are just some of the items that motivated Sun to make its buyout bids, one after another, beginning in 2009. "We intend to build on Taro's market presence in the U.S., Israel and Canada and its expertise in dermatology and pediatrics, along with specialty and generic pharmaceuticals, and over-the-counter products," Sun Chairman Dilip Shanghvi explained in a 2010 statement.

Taro hasn't given in completely; Sun's most recent bid for minority shares was just rebuffed in July. But as the Indian company accumulated its current two-thirds stake, Taro hit its stride. Net sales increased $113.1 million, or 28.8%, to $505.7 million in 2011. All that helped usher Taro on the New York Stock Exchange, where it made its debut as a public company March 22.