10. Polpharma

By Nesa Nourmohammadi

2011 generic drug sales: $580 million
Growth rate 2011: 22%
Growth rate 2010: 20%

Just call this one the "Polish Powerhouse," as healthcare consulting group Nicholas Hall & Co. did in a recent marketing study. Polpharma may not carry a lot of weight in the U.S. circle of pharma companies, but it is tapping into underdeveloped--but fast-growing--markets around the world that are bound to boost its potential.

Based in Warsaw, Polpharma is Poland's biggest generics maker. Its key products include the top-selling Polocard, a version of aspirin for clot prevention, which brought in $16.1 million in 2010. Then there are its analgesics Polopiryna, another aspirin product that yielded $14 million, and a combination drug Etopiryna, with $12.4 million.

But Polpharma is expanding beyond Polish borders. During the last couple of years, it bought stakes in companies across the world in its quest to deliver generics in emerging countries. In 2011, it acquired Kazakhstan's Chimpharm, planning to invest $85 million more in the company over the next four years. It also grabbed majority stakes in Turkey's Cenovapharma and Russia's Akrikhin, which sells Bystrumgel, one of the country's 5 top-selling topical analgesics.

Also fueling Polpharma's growth is its marketing savvy. To generate heart disease awareness, it plastered print and TV ads across its home country. Other ad campaigns capitalized on the star power of well-known Polish actors (just don't ask us to name any).

10. Polpharma