8. GlaxoSmithKline

GSK
(Eric Sagonowsky)

GlaxoSmithKline
Estimated 2026 sales:
$47.5 billion
2019 sales: $37.07 billion
2019-26 CAGR: 3.6%

GlaxoSmithKline soared in 2019 on the strength of its recently approved shingles vaccine, Shingrix, and it weathered the loss of Advair exclusivity with growth from other respiratory medicines. And while pharmaceuticals sales were flat, the company enriched its consumer healthcare business by absorbing Pfizer’s unit in August.

By 2026, Evalute Pharma predicts GSK’s revenues will reach $47.5 billion—about one-tenth above 2019’s $43.26 billion—landing the company in seventh place overall. GSK has shifted down a peg from Evaluate’s prior 2024 projection, narrowly outstripped by Sanofi in sixth with 2026 sales of $49.5 billion.

By far the biggest rising star at GSK, shingles vaccine Shingrix has exceeded expectations since it was first approved in 2017, grazing blockbuster status in its first year as it blew Merck & Co. competitor Zostavax out of the water. It nabbed a place on Fierce Pharma’s top 10 drug launches since 2017 list earlier this year, and GSK has plans to boost manufacturing capacity for the vaccine to meet rising demand: With the estimated 2024 completion of a new site to complement its existing bioreactor in Belgium, GSK aims to produce extra Shingrix doses in the tens of millions.

And at the start of 2020, GSK embarked on a two-year program to spin out its consumer healthcare business into its own company, with a sleeker, R&D-focused “New GSK” to emerge on the other side. One-time costs for the split are estimated at around  £600 million to £700 million, but GSK thinks the shakeup could save £700 million annually by 2022.

Meanwhile, respiratory sales grew by 38% in the first quarter of 2020, fueled by GSK’s triple-combo COPD med Trelegy and severe asthma drug Nucala. In April, Nucala—facing steep competition from Sanofi and Regeneron’s Dupixent—also scored in phase 3 trials to reduce nasal polyps in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis.

Plus, GSK's ViiV unit is working hard to catch up to leader Gilead in HIV. After losing out on FDA approval for a once-monthly dose of injection Cabenuva in December, the company in March touted positive data for a bimonthly sister version.

Plus, the company has high hopes for injectable cabotegravir, which has shown it can reduce a patient's odds of contracting HIV by 66% compared with daily oral Truvada after 1.4 years of median follow-up—enough for the drug to claim statistical superiority over Gilead's PrEP med. Consensus forecasts have pegged peak sales for the drug at £750 million ($945 million), or about one-third of the current PrEP market.

Glaxo also scored wins in oncology this year that set it up for growth. PARP inhibitor Zejula jumped ahead in ovarian cancer, landing an FDA green light as a first-line maintenance therapy.

And multiple myeloma antibody-drug conjugate belantamab mafodotin has also racked up successive multiple myeloma wins as the company waits to hear back on its FDA filing, submitted last December. GSK thinks belantamab mafodotin has an edge over other multiple myeloma treatments in the market, given that antibody-drug conjugates are easier to manufacture at scale than bispecific antibodies and CAR-T therapies. The company is also testing the drug in earlier lines of treatment, with the goal to continue submitting one new regulatory filing per year over the next three years.

In the meantime, GSK has busied itself shedding its dermatology division as it looks to capitalize on the Pfizer-partnered healthcare venture in the next two years.

8. GlaxoSmithKline

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