8. Pfizer

Pfizer  headquarters logo sign
Pfizer's discovery and launch of the first COVID-19 vaccine came as it divested its Upjohn generics business in 2020.

Pfizer
2020 revenue
: $41.9 billion
2019 revenue: $51.75 billion
Headquarters: New York, New York

While the pharma giant garnered kudos for its successful development and launch with partner BioNTech of the first COVID-19 vaccine in 2020, its top line was affected by a range of other events and products.

Pfizer dropped from No. 3 last year to No. 8 on Fierce Pharma’s list of the top 20 companies due to the divestiture of its generics business Upjohn. Upjohn's merger with Mylan to create the new company Viatris officially cleared the FTC in November 2020. That’s also when its revenue was cleared from Pfizer’s books.

Pfizer's total 2020 revenue of $41.9 billion marks a 2% increase year over year when Upjohn's results are left out of the equation.

RELATED: Goodbye pill, hello science: Pfizer debuts redesigned logo with double helix

Pfizer reported that operational revenue was up 8% for the year, driven by the strong growth of several drugs including Vyndaqel, Eliquis, Ibrance, Xeljanz and Xtandi. The solid performers helped offset lower sales of Enbrel, Prevnar 13 and Chantix.

The biggest gainer was prostate cancer treatment Xtandi, up 22%, and reaching blockbuster status with $1.02 billion in sales. Eliquis grew 17% to $4.95 billion and Ibrance was up 9% with $5.39 billion in sales for the year.

Among the underperformers, Enbrel dropped 21% to $1.35 billion in sales, while Chantix dipped by 17% to $919 million.

Pfizer sales of its blockbuster vaccine Prevnar 13 were flat year over year but still contributed a whopping $5.85 billion. COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty brought in $154 million in sales after its emergency approval in December.

RELATED: First-to-market Pfizer expects a whopping $15B from its COVID-19 shot in 2021

In 2021, investors will most certainly be focused on Comirnaty’s contribution to the top line. Pfizer recently recast its projected sales for 2021 to between $59.4 and $61.4 billion, as it's expecting to take in around $15 billion in coronavirus vaccine sales this year.

With the Viatris generics merger and a previous combination of its consumer business with GlaxoSmithKline in the rearview mirror, Prizer plans to put its mRNA experience to work on future discoveries.

One of those is an mRNA-based flu vaccine it’s been working on for three years, CEO Albert Bourla said at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January. The mRNA technology must be taken into other fields he said. “We have developed infrastructure that normally would take years to be able to develop," Bourla said. "It’s time to use it for the better of humanity.”

8. Pfizer