2. Pfizer

Pfizer sign
Pfizer is expected to grow sales 2% on average for the next several years to more than $51 billion. (Tracy Staton)

Headquarters: New York, New York
2017 prescription sales: $45.4 billion
Projected 2024 sales: $51.2 billion

Led by breast cancer med Ibrance and the world’s bestselling vaccine Prevnar 13, Pfizer is slated to grow sales 2% on average over the next several years to capture the No. 2 ranking in 2024’s biggest pharma companies by revenue.          

Analysts expect Pfizer’s breast cancer drug Ibrance to post impressive growth during the period to $8.28 billion globally, or 15% on average per year from 2017’s $3.13 billion haul. Behind that drug in Pfizer’s portfolio is the big-selling pneumococcal shot Prevnar 13. Sales for the vaccine are slated to remain flat at about $5.7 billion over the coming years, according to the analysts. 

Aside from Ibrance and Prevnar, Pfizer cancer med Bavencio, plus immunology drugs Xeljanz and Eucrisa, will be important contributors in the coming years, as will biosimilars, Evaluate notes. Pfizer picked up much of its biosim slate through its $15 billion Hospira buy in 2015. 

As those drugs generate important sales for Pfizer, the company is advancing a 20-valent vaccine designed to follow-up behind Prevnar 13. But the drugmaker could see a challenge from Merck’s late-stage 15-valent pneumococcal vaccine, which that rival is testing in a phase 3 study against Prevnar 13.  

On a recent conference call, Pfizer COO head Albert Bourla said the vaccines could launch at a “competitive timeframe,” but that Pfizer’s vaccine stands to offer “a much broader spectrum of coverage quality.”   

Like Merck, Pfizer has made vaccines an important part of its strategy going forward. Aside from the 20-valent pneumococcal candidate, Pfizer is working on late-stage C. diff vaccine and a midstage S. aureus candidate. 

Pfizer, which has grown through megamergers, hasn’t been able to strike any big deals since its massive Wyeth buy in 2009, which brought Prevnar along with it. The company made runs at AstraZeneca and Allergan, but both fell short. 

Market watchers have wondered if the company could make an offer for Bristol-Myers Squibb. Without such a move, the market has also questioned whether the company will split. In July, Pfizer announced a restructuring that could set it up for that in the future. 

Pfizer this year captured unwanted attention after raising prices on dozens of drugs—some by more than 9%. The increases caught the ire of President Donald Trump, who tweeted that Pfizer “should be ashamed” of the move. After a phone call between Trump, HHS secretary Alex Azar and Pfizer CEO Ian Read, the company agreed to defer the price hikes. The drugmaker, like pharma at large, continues to face scrutiny on pricing since the move. 

2. Pfizer