9. Sanofi

sanofi quebec hq
Sanofi is heading in a new direction under CEO Paul Hudson.

2020 revenue: $41.08 billion (converted from €36.04 billion) 
2019 revenue: $40.46 billion (converted from €36.13 billion)  
Headquarters: Paris, France 

For Sanofi, 2020 was a year of change. During its first full year under CEO Paul Hudson, the drugmaker made progress on its “play to win” strategy, as several products turned in big sales numbers despite the challenges from the pandemic.

The strategy, unveiled in December 2019, entailed focusing on products and therapeutic areas where Sanofi had the best shot of succeeding. That included immunology, encompassing blockbuster Dupixent and vaccines. At the same time, the company backed away from struggling business areas such as diabetes. 

Sanofi also embarked on an effort to prioritize its R&D efforts on drug candidates with the ability to change medical practice. The company now says it has six candidates in that category, including drugs to treat cancer, hemophilia and multiple sclerosis.  

Last year, amid challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Sanofi’s new strategy started paying off. Dupixent, for example, pulled in more than $1 billion in sales in the third quarter alone, up 69% from the same period a year earlier. Looking forward, Sanofi is “fully confident” in its €10 billion peak sales goal for the drug, Sanofi specialty care head Bill Sibold has said.

Flu vaccines delivered record sales for the drugmaker that quarter—€1.07 billion—as the COVID-19 pandemic made influenza vaccination top-of-mind for people around the world. 

RELATED: Sanofi, despite COVID-19, sees early gains from CEO Hudson's strategy revamp 

Overall in 2020, Sanofi reported sales growth of 3.3% to €36 billion. Dupixent alone generated €3.5 billion overall last year, while oncology sales, propelled by the launches of Sarclisa and Libtayo and the growth of older drugs, jumped 27% to €798 million. 

On the flip side, sales of diabetes and cardiovascular meds—where Sanofi has historically had a strong presence—again slipped. The company’s diabetes sales fell 4.8% at constant exchange rates to €4.7 billion. Cardio and established pharmaceuticals revenues dropped 8.8% to €10 billion. 

RELATED: After setback, Sanofi, GSK take tweaked COVID-19 vaccine into phase 2 

Sanofi’s new strategy also includes a cost-cutting effort. In February, when the company reported full-year 2020 results, execs said Sanofi had already squeezed out €1.7 billion in costs, nearing its goal of €2 billion in cuts by 2022. The company has reinvested about 60% of that savings. 

With that high level of savings already achieved, the company added another €500 million to its 2022 target. All of the extra savings will be reinvested to fuel growth, CFO Jean-Baptiste Chasseloup de Chatillon said at the time. 

Meanwhile, as a leading vaccine player worldwide, Sanofi has been involved in researching coronavirus shots. Its high-profile GlaxoSmithKline partnership ran into a mid-stage setback late last year, but the partners were recently pushed a tweaked formulation into phase 2. 

Sanofi also has an mRNA vaccine development program with Translate Bio, and it has offered to help Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson manufacture their COVID vaccines. 

9. Sanofi