2020 revenue: $25.42 billion
2019 revenue: $23.36 billion
Headquarters: Thousand Oaks, California
After suffering a sales dip in 2019, Amgen made a comeback last year—no easy feat, especially during a pandemic.
Amgen’s mainstays Neulasta, Neupogen and Sensipar all lost market exclusivity in 2019, but the company made several of its own plays in biosimilars—and they paid off last year. Add to that some strong recent launches and promising pipeline hopefuls, and Amgen seems to have firmly planted itself back on a solid growth path.
Amgen posted 7% revenue growth in 2020 thanks to huge volume gains on key products. New migraine med Aimovig, for example, posted volume growth of 21% in the fourth quarter alone, resulting in 24% year-over-year sales growth to $378 million. Sales for bone drug Evenity skyrocketed 85% to $191 million, also thanks to volume gains, the company said.
The biosimilars business has been good to Amgen, too. Sales of Amgevita, its copycat version of AbbVie’s blockbuster immunology drug Humira, jumped 54% year over year to $331 million; it was the most prescribed biosimilar of the drug in Europe. With additional markets adopting the biosimilar this year, Amgen expects growth to continue.
In August, Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal spotlighted Amgen as proof that the U.S. biosimilars business is entering a “golden age.” With the company dominating the U.S. market for copycats of Roche cancer drugs Herceptin and Avastin, Amgen’s biosimilars business is annualizing at $1.4 billion, he estimated.
Elsewhere, Amgen's new Otezla overperformed in 2020. Despite having to compete against a raft of injectable drugs, Otezla—a pill—proved so appealing to patients that prescriptions grew 13% during the year, even amid a massive slowdown in physician visits due to COVID-19. Amgen picked the drug up from Celgene before that company merged with Bristol Myers Squibb.
Amgen has two high-profile, first-in-class drugs in its pipeline that could help drive its future growth. KRAS-targeted sotorasib, which the company is developing to treat non-small cell lung cancer, is under FDA review now. And TSLP inhibitor tezepelumab, partnered with AstraZeneca, recently posted positive data in asthma treatment.
Amgen has rejiggered its workforce to prepare for new launches—and to adapt to digital sales tools that became routine during the pandemic. In February, the company cut 500 sales jobs in the U.S., citing the need to focus on new product launches and investing in R&D. Murdo Gordon, the company’s head of global commercial operations, acknowledged that part of the goal of the cuts was to make Amgen “more efficient.”
Meanwhile, Amgen is investing in growing markets outside the U.S., including Japan, China and Russia, Murdo said.
The company is also contributing to the ongoing effort to end the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, it teamed up with Eli Lilly to scale up manufacturing of antibody-drug candidates for treating the virus. And in December, it teamed up with Takeda and UCB to launch a clinical trial aimed at determining whether three existing drugs, including Otezla, could tame dangerous inflammatory responses that some COVID patients experience.