8. Sanofi

2014 Generics Sales: $2.4 billion +11%
Worldwide Market Share: 3.2%

In 2014, Sanofi ($SNY) turned to generics as the calm during the storm, targeting steady growth for the unit in emerging markets amid stalled launches and the abrupt departure of its now former CEO Chris Viehbacher. And the company delivered on its plan, raking in nearly $2 billion in worldwide generics sales in 2014--an 11% jump over the previous year. Emerging markets contributed significantly to that haul, with a 10% increase in Africa generics sales and a 6% hop in Asia generics sales excluding Japan.

Last year, Sanofi set its sights on the Middle East with a deal for a controlling stake in Dubai generics drugmaker Globalpharma. The buy handed Sanofi a 66% share in Globalpharma and helps the French drugmaker cash in on the region's rapidly growing generics market. Sanofi will also make generics of 6 of its drugs at Globalpharma's plant, adding treatments for gastrointestinal diseases, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

The Middle East push built on Sanofi's previous generics efforts in emerging markets. In 2009, the company struck a series of deals including one for Brazil's Medley, helping Sanofi rise in the ranks of Latin American generics manufacturers. A few years later, the company snatched up Colombia's Genfar, the second-largest generics maker in the country, to expand its international presence. In 2013, Sanofi created a global generics division to further boost business.

At least so far, Sanofi's efforts seem to be paying off. Generics shot up 10% in Q1 2015, with U.S. and emerging markets pitching in sales. The numbers came as welcome news to Sanofi, which is facing slumping diabetes sales under its new CEO, Olivier Brandicourt.

But it hasn't been all smooth sailing for Sanofi in the generics sphere. The company recently lost its bid for Mexico-based generics maker Representaciones e Investigaciones Medicas, also known as Rimsa, to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA). But with more cash to spare, Sanofi could be on the prowl for more deals in the year to come, cementing its place on the list of top makers of generic drugs.

-- Emily Wasserman (email | Twitter)

For more:
Bloomberg: Sanofi, Pfizer mull potential deal for Mexican generics maker Rimsa
Lantus dragged down diabetes, but Sanofi beat on sales, earnings anyway
Sanofi will produce generics of 6 drugs in Dubai
Sanofi, Zentiva in $2.6B buyout
Sanofi makes $2 billion generics move

8. Sanofi
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