12. Bristol-Myers Squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene rolled out their $74 billion merger proposal back in January. (Pixabay)

Bristol-Myers Squibb 
2018 revenue: $22.56 billion 
2017 revenue: $20.78 billion 
Headquarters: New York, New York 

If everything goes as planned at Bristol-Myers Squibb, the company will be much higher in next year’s Big Pharma sales rankings. That’s because the company is working to swallow big biotech Celgene in one of biopharma’s largest-ever mergers. 

When Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene announced their megamerger back in January, the companies initially encountered some investor pushback ahead of a shareholder vote. Executives say the combined company would be a top player in oncology, cardiovascular diseases and immunology and inflammation. In early April, activist investors backed off from their campaign.

RELATED: Bristol-Myers, Celgene CEOs trot out detailed case for $74B megadeal 

While much of the story at Bristol-Myers in 2019 so far is the Celgene pursuit, last year, the company turned in $22.6 billion in sales, up 9% over 2017’s $20.78 billion. The company is leaning on Opdivo in cancer and Eliquis in cardiovascular diseases for growth. Opdivo pulled in $6.735 billion last year, up 36% from $4.95 billion in 2017. Eliquis is another big performer, growing 32% last year to $6.44 billion. Orencia, Yervoy and Empliciti posted modest growth as well.

Since its first approval in 2014, Opdivo has racked up numerous approved uses. It's posted sales gains in second-line lung cancer and several other indications, but the drug remains threatened by Merck's Keytruda. That's because Keytruda is approved in combo with chemotherapy in first-line lung cancer. For its part, Bristol-Myers withdrew an application for Opdivo and Yervoy in the indication. Keytruda looms over Opdivo in kidney cancer as well after it posted strong survival numbers back in February.

RELATED: Big Keytruda survival win sets Merck up to steal Bristol-Myers Squibb's kidney cancer share

Bristol-Myers’ $22.6 billion in 2018 sales earned the company the No. 11 ranking among the world’s biggest pharma companies last year. The position compares to the company’s No. 15 ranking in 2017 and 2016. 

12. Bristol-Myers Squibb