15. Eli Lilly & Co.

Lilly
Eli Lilly has been busy launching several drugs that are now fueling growth.

Eli Lilly 
2020 revenue: $24.54 billion 
2019 revenue: $22.32 billion 
Headquarters: Indianapolis, Indiana  

Heading into 2020, Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks said the company was in an “early phase of an exciting period of growth” as new meds gained steam. While COVID-19 certainly presented challenges, the drugmaker still posted revenue growth in 2020 thanks to its drug rollouts and its success in treating coronavirus infections. 

Last year, Lilly’s sales reached $24.54 billion, a 10% increase versus the company’s $22.32 billion in 2019. The company’s COVID-19 antibody, bamlanivimab, chipped in $871 million during the fourth quarter as its rollout got underway.

A big part of the company’s growth story has been its focus on increasing sales volumes as prices have decreased. Overall last year, the company’s volumes grew 15%, but its realized prices slipped 5%. Like other drugmakers, Lilly pays billions of dollars in rebates to government and private payers to secure favorable formulary access, and those rebates have taken a large toll on industry sales over the last few years. 

Outside of bamlanivimab, Lilly’s drugs launched since 2014 continued their ascent for the company, representing about half of Lilly’s overall sales last year. Those drugs include type 2 diabetes drug Trulicity, its top-selling medicine, plus immunology blockbuster Taltz and migraine prevention drug Emgality. Excluding Lilly's COVID-19 antibody treatment, the company posted global revenue growth of 6% last year.

RELATED: Lilly has its Ozempic-beating data from a head-to-head diabetes trial. Should Novo Nordisk be worried? 

Meanwhile, the company had a standout year on the stock market. Lilly was one of pharma’s top market cap gainers last year, with investors boosting Lilly’s value 28% throughout 2020 to $161.5 billion. Lilly's market cap growth bested all other Big Pharma players except AbbVie.  

For his work in steering the ship, Lilly CEO Ricks pulled in $23.7 million in 2020 compensation, an 11% bump from 2019. 

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Like many companies in the biopharma industry, the company sought early on to identify ways it could respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the first ways Lilly mobilized was to set up drive-through testing in Indianapolis, providing its hometown community with a much-needed early resource. 

The company quickly set out to research drugs that could help fight COVID-19. That work paid off: The company’s bamlanivimab scored an FDA authorization last year and brought in sizable revenue. A combo of bamlanivimab and another antibody, etesevimab, recently turned in the strongest COVID-19 therapeutic data seen so far, cutting the risk of hospitalization and death by 87%.  

Olumiant, a drug previously approved for rheumatoid arthritis, has also shown promise in COVID-19. The drug won an FDA emergency nod in combination with Gilead’s antiviral Veklury in hospitalized patients requiring supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation. 

RELATED: Eli Lilly COVID-19 antibody combo aces study, cutting hospitalizations and deaths by a whopping 87% 

Aside from the performance of its current portfolio, the company has also posted positive pipeline news in recent months. Lilly’s Alzheimer’s disease drug candidate, donanemab, turned in positive topline phase 2 results in January, but in March the full data disappointed investors. Lilly's diabetes candidate tirzepatide bested Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic in A1C and body weight reductions in a head-to-head trial, but analysts believe Novo’s drug can still be competitive in the market. 

15. Eli Lilly & Co.
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