GlaxoSmithKline

GSK CEO Andrew Witty

7. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK)
2014 revenue: $37.96 billion
2013 revenue: $41.61 billion

2014 was not a great year to be GlaxoSmithKline. Competition and payer struggles took a big bite out of sales for aging giant Advair, dragging U.S. pharmaceuticals and vaccines turnover down by 10% to £4.98 billion. Growth in emerging markets, Japan and the company's HIV division, ViiV Healthcare, couldn't make up for that loss, with overall group turnover sinking 3%.

Glaxo did see some strong performances from other pharma products; sales for its oncology lineup soared 41% in the U.S. to reach £509 million, with the launches of melanoma duo Tafinlar and Mekinist backing up solid showings from Votrient and Promacta.

Problem is, those cancer drugs have now officially changed hands. As of early March, they're part of Novartis' ($NVS) portfolio--a swap GSK made in return for the bulk of Novartis' vaccines unit.

The deal vaulted Glaxo to the top of the world's vaccines ranks, and the pharma giant is hoping it can help improve the 1% decline that total vaccine sales posted in 2014. A 14% plunge in Japan--where suspension of the HPV vaccine recommendation hurt Cervarix's revenue hall--negated growth elsewhere.

As part of the asset trade, Glaxo and Novartis also set up a consumer health joint venture that'll take the No. 1 spot in its market--another area where GSK is looking to translate big scale into big sales. Like vaccines, consumer health turnover dropped 1% compared with 2013, hitting £4.34 billion. But GSK is hoping that the addition of Novartis' brands, including pain reliever Excedrin, can help turn that around.

-- Carly Helfand (email | Twitter)

For more:
GSK CEO Witty's pay whacked as U.K.'s largest drugmaker struggles to right itself
GlaxoSmithKline's new chairman will climb aboard months earlier than expected
Glaxo's Connelly bows out amid scramble to turn around U.S. business
GSK makes deep job cuts as Advair sales crash fast

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