7. Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb
A full year of Celgene sales boosted BMS' top line by 63%.  (Bristol Myers Squibb)

Bristol Myers Squibb

2019 revenue: $26.15 billion
2020 revenue: $42.52 billion
Headquarters: New York, New York

In 2020, Bristol Myers Squibb lost a hyphen and gained $16 billion in sales. That was the result of a metamorphosis that started in November 2019, when BMS launched its $74 billion megamerger with Celgene. 

A full year of Celgene sales boosted BMS' top line by 63%. The top producer was a former Celgene cancer drug, Revlimid, which generated $12.1 billion in sales, a 12% increase over the previous year.

Other top performers were Orencia ($3.2 billion), Sprycel ($2.1 billion), Yervoy ($1.7 billion) and Celgene import Abraxane ($1.2 billion). Eliquis sales grew 16% to $9.2 billion, as BMS benefited from data showing that blood thinners reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack in COVID-19 patients.

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But some of BMS’s workhorse drugs struggled last year. Sales of immuno-oncology treatment Opdivo fell by 3% to $7 billion as the PD-1 inhibitor continued to face tough competition from Merck & Co.'s rival Keytruda. There were some research disappointments, too, including a study that showed that pairing Opdivo with chemotherapy produced no better outcome than did chemotherapy alone for non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer.      

And BMS investors know the company can’t rely on Revlimid for long, as the multiple myeloma drug will face generic competition in early 2022. 

RELATED: Bristol Myers Squibb's Opdivo, Yervoy score another lung cancer OK, this time alongside chemo

Despite Revlimid’s impending loss of exclusivity, some analysts are projecting a bright future for BMS. Evaluate Pharma predicts that Eliquis will be the second best-selling drug in the world by 2026 and Opdivo to be the third best seller. 

Last year, BMS also won FDA nods for multiple sclerosis drug Zeposia, which will roll out after the pandemic, and for Rebozyl, a med for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes that brought in $274 million in its first few months on the market. 

Battling Merck’s Keytruda will be a difficult task. But there should be room for growth for Opdivo, analysts say, thanks to two FDA approvals last year pairing the drug with BMS' other immuno-oncology drug Yervoy. 

7. Bristol Myers Squibb