Top 20 global biopharma companies report 5.4% growth

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The top 20 biopharmaceutical companies have recorded a growth of 5.4% in aggregate market capitalisation – from $3.43 trillion on December 31, 2021 to $3.61 trillion on December 31, 2022. 

According to analytics company GlobalData, 11 companies indicated double-digit growth, with four companies – Merck & Co (45.3%), Vertex Pharmaceuticals (32.8%), Eli Lilly (31.6%), and AstraZeneca (21.5%) – reporting more than 20% YoY growth in market capitalisation. 

Ophelia Chan, MSc, Analyst of Business Fundamentals at GlobalData, comments: “Despite the fall in demand for Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics, and the impact of global economic uncertainty raising concerns on drug pricing as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the US, 13 of the top 20 global biopharmaceutical companies increased their market capitalisation over last year.” 

“Johnson & Johnson maintained its top position over 2022, with Eli Lilly moving up two places to second place and Pfizer retaining its third position. Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, is forecast to reach drug analyst consensus global forecast sales of $33 billion for 2022, according to GlobalData’s Drugs Database Pharma Intelligence Center.” 

The top four pharma companies

Merck & Co’s market capitalisation grew from $193.6 billion to $281.3 billion over 2022, fueled by the positive performance of its top-selling immunotherapy oncology drug, Keytruda. The monoclonal antibody continued to reach record sales, with a drug analyst consensus global forecast of $20.8 billion for 2022. 

Vertex recorded 33% market capitalisation growth over 2022 thanks to its franchise of therapies to treat cystic fibrosis. Growth is expected to remain strong, with analysts predicting sales for its triple combination cystic fibrosis therapy, Trikafta/Kaftrio, to increase by 35.3% for 2022. 

Eli Lilly continued its strong run in 2022 as its share price grew 32% – from $276.22 on 31 December 2021 to $365.84 on 31 December 2022. This growth was supported by its blockbuster Trulicity – a type 2 diabetes drug, along with other successful products in its portfolio. 

Companies in decline 

Seven biopharmaceutical companies suffered a market capitalisation decline over 2022, with Moderna (-33%), GSK (-31.6%), Roche (-25.7%), and Pfizer (-13.2%) registering a more than 10% YoY decline. 

Moderna, amid its post-Covid-19 efforts to expand its portfolio of therapeutic vaccines, witnessed the largest decline of -33% over the past year. Moderna fell from fourteenth to eighteenth position due to increasing concerns vis-a-vis the sustainability of vaccine demand.  

Similarly, Roche (-25.7%) and Pfizer (-13,2%) suffered a market capitalisation decline over 2022 due to the rattled investor confidence towards Covid-19 pandemic products. Roche’s diagnostics business is expected to see a decline in sales in the near term due to declining demand for Covid-19 testing products. 

Chan concludes: “Despite the global economic uncertainty and the recent passing of the IRA, the pharmaceutical sector remains resilient. In light of the pressures on drug pricing, top players in the industry are shifting their focus to non-Covid-19 products, as they navigate patent expirations and aim to improve their research and development (R&D) efforts in order to replenish their pipelines.”

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