12. AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca posted an impressive 15% growth in revenue last year. (AstraZeneca)

AstraZeneca
2019 revenue: $23.57 billion
2018 revenue: $21.05 billion
Headquarters: Cambridge, United Kingdom

After finally returning to growth in 2018, AstraZeneca rode the wave last year. Its product sales jumped by 15% at constant currencies, with expansion coming across all three of the company’s therapy areas: oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic, and respiratory.

Oncology was the standout unit at AZ, which is seeing years of investment in the field begin to pay off in a major way. Cancer meds accounted for $8.67 billion in sales, a figure that swelled by 47% over 2018’s haul in constant exchange rates.

RELATED: AstraZeneca's Tagrisso just got the lung cancer nod it needs to hit $3B in sales

What meds were behind the growth spurt? Targeted lung cancer therapy Tagrisso, for one. Now the British drugmaker’s leading seller by far, the drug pulled in $3.19 billion in global sales on the back of an approval in previously untreated patients with metastatic, EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer.

But Tagrisso isn’t alone on AZ’s cancer blockbuster roster. Checkpoint inhibitor Imfinzi and PARP star Lynparza also passed the billion-dollar threshold, putting up $1.47 billion and $1.20 billion in worldwide sales, respectively.

On the cardiometabolic side, SGLT2 diabetes med Farxiga and blood thinner Brilinta sat atop the pack, each raking in just over $1.5 billion. But falling star Crestor, now facing multiple generics, managed to hang onto blockbuster status, adding $1.28 billion to the pot.

Respiratory, the smallest of AZ’s core focus areas by revenue, accounted for $5.39 billion in sales, driven by older meds Symbicort and Pulmicort. The company was expecting COPD triplet Breztri, a rival to GlaxoSmithKline’s Trelegy, to make more of a mark last year, but an October FDA rejection dashed those hopes.

RELATED: Has AstraZeneca lost its glow? Drugmaker misses on top cancer meds, braces for coronavirus

Despite major gains on the year, 2019 ended on a bit of a sour note, with Tagrisso, Imfinzi and Lynparza all missing Q4 analyst estimates and the novel coronavirus threatening to disrupt business in China, one of AstraZeneca’s key markets.

But since then, Tagrisso has opened up a major new sales opportunity with a trial win in adjuvant lung cancer, a field analysts have pegged as a multibillion-dollar opportunity. The FDA has also put Farxiga in its “priority review” category for reducing the risk of cardiovascular events in certain heart failure patients with or without Type 2 diabetes; if the drug can snag an approval, it’ll be the first in its class to do so.

Those line extensions will be key for AZ going forward as it works to hit a lofty $40 billion sales target that CEO Pascal Soriot set years ago 2023—and his since defended multiple times.

12. AstraZeneca