Most profitable drugmaker? Not a Big Pharma

Which pharma is the most profitable? You might be surprised. A new analysis of net margins by EvaluatePharma tagged companies for profitability, and the winner wasn't one of the biggies. Not Pfizer, not Johnson & Johnson ... but PDL BioPharma. Yep, that little drugmaker that managed a net margin of 68.9 percent in 2008, posting a profit of $203 million for the year.

In fact, when you look at EvaluatePharma's net margin numbers, you'll crawl down below the top five to get to the first Big Pharma. Pfizer came in at seventh with a net margin of 33.9 percent, up 2.5 percentage points from 2007. (Profits for the No. 1 drugmaker by sales amounted to $16.4 billion.) Merck captured ninth place with a net margin of 32.2 percent (and profits of $7.67 billion). Check out the list for more.

- see the list and analysis at Seeking Alpha