Mid-cap biotech beats most of the big dogs with 21.9% revenue growth

Who says bigger is better? According to a new report, mid-cap biotech companies are doing pretty well for themselves, thank you very much.

Combined revenues for 35 mid-sized biotechs shot up by 21.9% last year, according to new research from GlobalData. The cohort hiked its revenue haul to $26.5 billion last year, up from $24.8 billion in 2013.

Regeneron ($REGN) and Alexion ($ALXN) buoyed this year's numbers after posting banner top-line years. Regeneron's sales swelled by 34% in 2014 on the back of star eye med Eylea, as the Tarrytown, NY-based drugmaker continued its ex-U.S. push. And Alexion's ultra-pricey orphan drug Soliris generated $2.2 billion last year--leaping from 2013's $1.6 billion--thanks to higher volume of unit shipments, better-than-expected demand and a reimbursement pact with the French government, GlobalData analyst Adam Dion said in a statement.

It's not just a recent trend, either. According to GlobalData, between 2009 and 2013, revenues from the 35 mid-cap companies expanded by a compound annual growth rate of 25.2%

Larger companies are taking note, and one need look no further than AbbVie's ($ABBV) recent deal agreement for Pharmacyclics ($PCYC) to see that. Last month, the Illinois pharma said it would shell out $21 billion--a sum that shocked some analysts--for the cancer drugmaker after it netted nearly $493 million in new Imbruvica revenue.

Not all the midsize biotechs are cruising, though. Vertex Pharmaceuticals ($VRTX), in particular, fell hard last year as Big Pharma and Big Biotech pushed it around. Their hep C newcomers--Sovaldi from Gilead ($GILD) and Olysio from Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Janssen--pushed Vertex's Incivek off the market, spurring a 52.1% revenue decline for the Massachusetts outfit.

- read the release

Special Reports: Top 15 Drug Launch Superstars - Eylea, Regeneron and Bayer Healthcare | The top 10 most expensive drugs of 2013 - Soliris - Alexion