Who are the most pro­duc­tive drug de­vel­op­ers in bio­phar­ma? Our top-20 list has lots of sur­pris­es

When you play the game of block­busters, you win or you buy.

Now, let me ex­plain what that means.

Mike Rea at IDEA Phar­ma tracked all the drugs ap­proved from 2013 through 2017, adding their cu­mu­la­tive sales to find out which bio­phar­ma com­pa­nies have had the great­est suc­cess­es. There are al­ways plen­ty of caveats in what you find with these num­bers — not least of which is how some re­cent R&D suc­cess­es at com­pa­nies like Roche and As­traZeneca (painful­ly dead last among the ma­jors be­low) are like­ly to vault them up the list.

I did some num­ber crunch­ing and drew some con­clu­sions that might in­ter­est you. And there are some key take­aways that are im­pos­si­ble to ig­nore.

One com­ment: Big re­search spend­ing doesn’t trans­late in­to big in­no­va­tion or pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. While 14 of the world’s top 15 R&D spenders in the in­dus­try dom­i­nate this list of 22 com­pa­nies — with on­ly Am­gen ab­sent in the tal­ly, with PC­SK9 still twist­ing in the head­winds — the amount they spent on re­search doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly re­flect where they rank on this scale of com­mer­cial suc­cess. At times, you’ll see they can di­verge wild­ly, rais­ing some fresh ques­tions about how some an­a­lysts come up with the av­er­age cost of de­vel­op­ing a new drug.

Endpoints News

Sign up to read this article for free.

Get free access to a limited number of articles, plus choose newsletters to get straight to your inbox.