Merck, GSK, Sanofi and Pfizer will vie for crown in tight vaccines race by 2020: Report

Anyone expecting one vaccines maker to pull away from the pack by 2020 had better reconsider. The top four companies--Merck ($MRK), GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Sanofi ($SNY) and Pfizer ($PFE)--will come within less than one percentage point of each other in total market share, a new report says.

The companies will each pull in between $7.25 billion and $7.49 billion in vaccines revenue, according to EvaluatePharma's World Preview 2015 report. Each will hold about 21% of the market, the report says.

Over the period, EP's analysts expect GlaxoSmithKline to grow the most in the space, from its 2014 sales of $4.49 billion to 2020 sales of $7.44 billion, jumping two spots in the rankings and ending up at No. 2. Pfizer, with 2014 vaccines sales of $5.84 billion, will haul in $7.25 billion, but fall two spots to No. 4, it predicts.

EP anticipates Merck remaining in the top spot in 2020 with $7.49 billion in 2020 sales, while it pegs sales for the third-place company, Sanofi, at $7.34 billion for the year.

Some of the numbers can be explained by GlaxoSmithKline's newly intensified focus on vaccines and the multibillion-dollar asset swap it recently completed with Novartis ($NVS), sending off its oncology portfolio and gaining the Swiss company's vaccines stall. In EvaluatePharma's report, Novartis--expected to land in 5th place by 2020--is the sole company in the top 10 expected to see negative growth, falling from 2014's sales of $1.53 billion to 2020 sales of $979 million.

To stay competitive and in the mix, Pfizer has made a series of moves while riding the sales of the world's best-selling vaccine, Prevnar 13, which is expected to pull in $5.83 billion in 2020. By comparison, second-place Gardasil will reach 2020 sales of just $2.52 billion, EP estimates.

Last year, Pfizer purchased Baxter's ($BAX) marketed vaccines portfolio for $635 million to bring in a meningitis C vaccine and a jab against tick-borne encephalitis. It followed up in January by purchasing Switzerland's Redvax for access to a preclinical human cytomegalovirus vaccine candidate.

Expected to snag 6th place behind the pharma giants is Emergent BioSolutions ($EBS), which EP thinks will notch the highest CAGR in the group at 13%; it's expected to grow sales from $246 million last year to $506 million in 2020.

- here's the report (reg. req.)

Special Reports: The top 5 vaccine makers by 2013 revenue - Merck - Sanofi GlaxoSmithKline - Pfizer - Novartis | The top 5 vaccines by 2020