Sanofi set to rev past Pfizer in pharma rankings

After Lipitor falls off patent, Pfizer will fall out of first place in the pharma universe. Who'll take the crown then? Sanofi, thanks to its $20 billion merger with Genzyme. According to EvaluatePharma, Sanofi ($SNY) will hang onto the top slot at least till 2016, with the Swiss drugmaker Novartis ($NVS) trailing close behind.

Pfizer ($PFE) will be the only U.S. drugmaker in the top 5 by 2014, if EvaluatePharma's analysis holds true. U.K.-based GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Switzerland's Roche will occupy fourth and fifth places, while Merck ($MRK) will drop to sixth. Check out the report to see where AstraZeneca ($AZN), Teva ($TEVA) and Bayer will land.

The conclusions are based on EvaluatePharma's outlook for key drugs. Sanofi's pole position will depend mostly on sales of Genzyme's ($GENZ) rare-disease therapies, which have struggled in recent years because of manufacturing problems. The company is on its way to inaugurating a new manufacturing plant, hoping to then offer a more secure supply of those expensive niche meds.

Novartis' second-place spot hinges on growth from its multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya and cancer blockbuster Tasigna--plus its new eye care division Alcon--which together will have to make up the loss of patent protection on blood-pressure megadrug Diovan. Some new drugs from Pfizer should help the company hang onto third place even as Lipitor sales dwindle to $2 billion from $10 billion-plus, the report says.

- read the EvaluatePharma report
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- check out the PharmaTimes story

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