20. Biogen

biogen
Biogen has a lot riding on its forthcoming FDA application for Alzheimer's drug candidate aducanumab. (Biogen)

Biogen 
2019 revenue: $14.38 billion 
2018 revenue: $14.45 billion 
Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts 

Last year was a rollercoaster ride for Biogen and its investors. Much of the story for the drugmaker centered on its Alzheimer’s drug candidate aducanumab. In the spring, the company said the drug had failed late-stage testing and called off further development, sending shares way down.

By the fall, that had all changed. A larger analysis warranted a drug application to the FDA, the drugmaker said, and it’s been preparing ever since. The news sparked a rally for the drugmaker's shares, with investors once again excited about the prospects of a potential approval. 

The Big Biotech hasn’t yet submitted to the FDA, but it still plans to do so. In the meantime, it’s been working on early launch plans, execs said at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January. 

Of course, there’s more to the company than just the closely watched Alzheimer’s med. Last year, spinal muscular atrophy drug Spinraza kept on its strong trajectory, posting 22% growth to $2.1 billion in global sales. The drug is facing new competition from Novartis, but it held its own throughout 2019. 

RELATED: Biogen's Tecfidera holds its own in MS as competitive and generic threats loom 

Further, the company’s big-selling multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera also held steady in a crowded field, growing sales 4% to $4.43 billion. In early 2020, Biogen scored a patent win against Mylan at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Aside from that case, Mylan is challenging a Tecfidera patent in court.  

Biogen’s shares jumped about 23% on the news of its Tecfidera patent victory, while Mylan said it would explore appeals options. 

The drugmaker additionally has a budding biosimilars business—its copycat biologics generated $738 million last year, a 35% jump from the year prior. Biogen didn’t have any marketed biosims in the U.S. last year, but it does sell biosims to big-selling Enbrel, Humira and Remicade in Europe. 

20. Biogen
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