|Pfizer CEO Ian Read|
4. Pfizer ($PFE)
2014 revenue: $49.605 billion
2013 revenue: $51.584 billion
For Pfizer, 2014 will go down as the year of its failed merger with AstraZeneca ($AZN). Ever since CEO Ian Read's $117 billion bid for the British pharma giant was rejected, the company has been looking for new buys and cobbling together assets to keep abreast of its competition.
Take Pfizer's move into cancer immunotherapies: In November, the company shelled out $850 million up front for the rights to Merck KGaA's PD-L1 inhibitor MSB0010718C and promised as much as $2 billion more to develop up to 20 new immuno-oncology meds. The deal took some of the weight off Pfizer in the aftermath of its AstraZeneca debacle, Read said at the time, adding that the drugmaker's midstage to late-stage pipeline is strong and "I would rather take our capital right now and direct it to opportunities to accelerate EPS growth."
Pfizer got some help from new products in 2014, too, including the anticoagulant Eliquis and Nexium 24HR, the company's over-the-counter version of AstraZeneca's blockbuster stomach drug. The drugmaker pushed for--and won--speedy approval for breast cancer med Ibrance, looking to grab a bigger piece of the oncology market. Overall, Pfizer's oncology franchise grew to $2.2 billion from $1.9 billion last year.
Vaccines delivered a much-needed boost in 2014, and Pfizer made a move to get even more from the field in 2015. Pneumococcal jab Prevnar 13 snagged a positive recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's key Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for adults ages 65 and older, adding to its market dominance. Pfizer's purchase of Baxter's ($BAX) portfolio of marketed vaccines for $635 million and FDA approval for meningitis B vaccine Trumenba also delivered some top-line growth.
Meanwhile, generics continue to take their toll on some of the company's blockbusters. Celebrex sales fell to $2.6 billion from $2.9 billion, an 8% drop year over year. And Pfizer is still suffering from generic competition for cholesterol med Lipitor; sales for the drug slipped another 11% last year to $2 billion. Viagra stayed afloat in the U.S. market but fared worse overseas, where the drug saw a $200 million decline in sales.
-- Emily Wasserman (email | Twitter)
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