3. Roche

Switzerland's Roche will generate more than $50 billion in annual sales in 2024, according to Evaluate. (Roche)

Headquarters: Basel, Switzerland
2017 prescription sales: $41.7 billion
Projected 2024 sales: $50.6 billion

With three oncology mega blockbusters threatened by biosimilars, it doesn't hurt that Roche is in the midst of its “most successful launch” in company history for multiple sclerosis med Ocrevus, as characterized this summer by CEO Severin Schwan. In 2024, on the back of breast cancer med Perjeta, Ocrevus and new hemophilia drug Hemlibra, plus many other meds, the company will turn in more than $50 billion in annual sales, ranking third atop pharma’s largest players. 

In 2017, the drugmaker turned in $41.7 billion in global pharmaceutical sales, led by three big cancer meds Rituxan, Herceptin and Avastin. But as market watchers know, biosim threats to the profitable drugs are approaching. All told, the blockbuster cancer meds represent $20 billion in annual sales under biosim threat. Rituxan has already begun to cede share to biosims in Europe. 

But thanks to new launches and continuing contributions, Roche can grow sales on average 3% per year to 2024, to $50.6 billion, according to Evaluate. 

This year, Roche caught a break when Novartis’ Rituxan biosimilar received a Complete Response Letter from the FDA. At the time, a Deutsch Bank analyst wrote that Rituxan may now dodge U.S. competition until next year. In a previous FiercePharma report on the top 2018 patent expirations, Rituxan topped the list of meds ranked by U.S. sales susceptible to new competition. 

Still, biosims are nearing. In advance of the competition, Roche recently disclosed that it’s laying off 223 employees “across departments” at biotech Genentech in California.  At the time, a spokeswoman said the “success of our business depends on our ability to respond to change, appropriately allocate resources and manage our operations efficiently.” After a business evaluation, the company has “made the difficult decision to eliminate some positions,” she added.  

Aside from Roche’s cancer offerings, the drugmaker last year launched Ocrevus at a competitive price. In the first half of the year, the drug pulled in more than $1 billion in sales compared to last year, when Ocrevus delivered $874 million. Evaluate predicts the drug will grow sales 26% annually to $4.45 billion. 

Another critical launch for the company is Hemlibra, a hemophilia med that won FDA approval last year. By 2024, the drug will pull in $2 billion, according to Evaluate’s report. The team at Jefferies, though, is more optimistic about the drug. They’ve predicted Hemlibra will generate $5 billion by 2025.

3. Roche