Who were biopharma's Q4 growth stars? Vertex, thanks to a new launch, plus Alexion, Regeneron and GSK

Of more than 20 drugmakers analyzed, all but three grew revenues during the fourth quarter. (Pixabay)

Several of the industry's top players turned in a strong performance in the fourth quarter, growing revenues at high single-digit rates, an analysis shows. Others? Not so much.

No company posted growth as high as Vertex's, which is riding a hot new launch for cystic fibrosis combination med Trikafta. Of course, Vertex doesn't have quite the heft of the biopharma industry's top players, so adding a big new launch to its existing revenue really bolstered its numbers.

In a ranking of the industry's revenue growth in the last three months of 2019, Vertex stole the show with a 63% leap versus the same period last year. Bristol-Myers Squibb, which now markets big-selling Celgene meds, followed behind at 33%. Two more midsized players in Alexion and Regeneron earned the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, respectively, each turning in a strong performance for their own reasons.


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For the full chart, please see below.

A stable of pharma companies⁠—GSK, AstraZeneca, Novartis, Merck and Eli Lilly⁠—occupied the next five spots in the rankings with high single-digit growth or better. 

RELATED: Vertex CEO Leiden touts gangbusters Trikafta launch in 'mic drop' earnings call

On the flip side, of more than 20 drugmakers analyzed, three saw their revenues decline. Amgen and Takeda each posted slightly lower revenues, while Pfizer really lagged the pack at an 8% revenue decline.

There's more to Pfizer's decline than just a number. The drugmaker isn't recording consumer healthcare sales anymore after its decision to ship off that unit as part of a joint venture with GSK. Meanwhile, Upjohn revenues sank by 32% during the period. Pfizer is in the process of reshaping itself around innovative medicines, and, during the quarter, revenues for those products grew by 9%.

Takeda's figures covered the first nine months of its fiscal year, which ended Dec. 31.


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