Vaccines, which can be complicated and expensive to manufacture, haven't always been the moneymakers they are for some drugmakers today. Last year, the global vaccines market topped $25.56 billion according to EvaluatePharma, with the world's 6 top-selling shots each cracking the blockbuster barrier.
It's a small group of drugmakers that are enjoying vaccines' top-line success. The top three vaccine players--Merck ($MRK), Sanofi ($SNY) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), in that order--generated nearly two-thirds of that haul, EP says. Add Pfizer ($PFE) and Novartis ($NVS) to round out the top 5, and the group raked in more than 86% of all vaccine sales.
And that club is only getting smaller. Back in April, No. 5 Novartis sold most of its vaccines unit to Glaxo as it made moves to exit the space. It's currently in the process of finding a buyer for its remaining lineup--a flu vaccines business that could help a rival pharma claw its way toward the top of the vaccines food chain or help a giant cement its leading position.
Of course, all of that could change as the cancer immunotherapy vaccine field takes shape. A host of contenders, from small biotechs to Big Pharma companies, is working to bring a new crop of therapeutic cancer fighters to a market that could one day be worth billions.
But for now, these 5 are at the front of the pack. Take a look at the report to see how they're doing it and what lies ahead as they look to maintain their leads--or bow out, as the case may be.
-- Carly Helfand (email | Twitter)