GlaxoSmithKline

6. GlaxoSmithKline
2013 revenue: £26.505 billion ($44.146 billion)
2012 revenue: £26.431 billion ($39.925 billion)

2013 saw some bumps in the road for Glaxo ($GSK), namely a $489 million bribery scandal in China. But fortunately for the British pharma giant, it had 5 new drug approvals--nearly one in 5 of all FDA approvals last year--to soften the blow.

Melanoma drugs Tafinlar and Mekinist, green-lighted earliest in the year, led the new approvals in sales, totaling £21 million and helping grow the oncology and emesis division's revenues by 22% to £969 million. Breo Ellipta, launched in the fourth quarter in the U.S. and in December in Japan, where it's known as Relvar, chipped in a combined £8 million between those two countries. And Tivicay, the new treatment out of Glaxo's ViiV Healthcare partnership with Pfizer ($PFE), added £19 million in U.S. sales.

Vaccines had its own launch: that of a quadrivalent formulation for Fluarix and FluLaval in the U.S. That bumped sales of those treatments up by 25% to £251 million, and the division on the whole grew by 2% to hit $3.4 billion.

But back to that bribery scandal in China. Chinese authorities are still looking into allegations that the company funneled millions of dollars in bribes through travel agencies to Chinese health professionals, and the investigation has spooked doctors and sales reps alike out of logging their usual face time. As a result, the probe has taken an 18% bite out of pharmaceutical and vaccine sales in the country.

Still, with a host of Phase III products in Glaxo's pipeline and a 13% return on R&D investment last year, CEO Andrew Witty sees sales as moving in the right direction. The procession of new products "is in line with our strategic approach of a continued flow of multiple product launches, which will help us drive future competitive advantage by diversifying our portfolio and reducing reliance on any one drug," he said in GSK's 2013 earnings release.

Reducing reliance on one drug--that drug being respiratory giant Advair, which rakes in more than $7 billion a year and accounts for close to 20% of total sales--is growing ever more important as competition begins to spring up. 2013 sales of the drug increased 4% to £5.3 billion, largely driven by strong performance in the U.S., where its difficult-to-copy inhaler technology has left it without any real rivals well past its patent expiration.

In Europe, however, that's beginning to change. Known as Seretide in the EU, the asthma treatment has been losing ground to competitors like Merck's ($MRK) Dulera and AstraZeneca's ($AZN) Symbicort. Seretide sales dropped 2% to £1.458 billion last year, and with new generic AirFluSal Forspiro from Novartis' ($NVS) Sandoz steadily gaining approvals across Europe, those losses are bound to pick up.

-- Carly Helfand (email | Twitter)

For more:
Glaxo earnings outlook boosted by strong R&D and renewed focus
EU Anoro nod lets GSK breathe deeper as Advair faces generic onslaught
GlaxoSmithKline reloads its pipeline with new PhIII drugs following approvals, setbacks
GlaxoSmithKline scraps doc payments, sales-rep quotas in global marketing revamp
GlaxoSmithKline pledges $330M to ramp up Relvar production, expand in U.K.

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