COVID-19 came as a blow to everyone, especially to the pharmaceutical brands and their R&D industry, as much was being expected of them. According to Innovation Momentum 2022: The Global Top 100 report, the pharmaceutical industry is ranked number one. While companies such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson capitalised on their sales of the COVID-19 vaccine, the business’s growth skyrocketed. Whimsically, one is forced to praise the sheer luck that came into play; however, it would be unfair to term it as mere “good luck” when successful pharmaceutical companies had given years of scientific work and had implemented a range of innovations to meet the needs of the hour.
The pandemic affected the pharma industry dramatically. However, the top-notch brands were able to emerge successful and are expected to remain so as the effects of COVID-19 have not completely subsided. In a year, Pfizer and its partner BioNTech were able to double the former’s revenue, with 45% of its global $81.3 billion in sales.
The successful pharma giants were able to set the foundation of invention and innovation before the pandemic. Invention, as per IDEA Pharma’s definitions, means bringing such tools and concepts together to create something utterly new, while innovation means creating some meaningful value through invention. According to these definitions, five top pharma giants have been listed that governed the pharma world for the best:
Pfizer has been ranked number 1 with respect to innovation and number 5 in terms of invention, reports Fortune. With 79,000 employees, the firm was able to drive revenue of $81.3 billion. Pfizer claims that due to its implementation of digital technologies, such as remote monitoring and AI machine learning, before the pandemic hit, the firm was able to combat the coronavirus and produce an efficacious vaccine. Were it not for this, Pfizer might have lagged. Due to its innovativeness, Pfizer continues to succeed by bagging approvals for its new drugs from the USFDA. The advent of Paxlovid has also been a milestone. However, Pfizer is one of three companies that were able to nab three approvals from the FDA in 2021.
The British pharma behemoth, AstraZeneca, has been ranked number 2 in terms of innovation and number 1 in terms of invention. With 83,100 employees, the firm was able to generate $37.4 billion in revenue in 2021. Aside from its non-mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, which generated $3.9 billion in revenue, its lung cancer medicine Tagrisso, a once-daily tablet, generated $5 billion in revenue. AstraZeneca’s CEO, Pascal Soriot, is hopeful that the firm will outshine everyone on both the lists in 2022 with its new cancer, kidney, and rare disease medicines.
Fortune informs us that Regeneron bags the 3rd position in innovation and the 13th position in invention with 10,368 employees. The brand was able to generate $16.1 billion in 2021. However, it is being seen as the largest traditional biotech company in 2022, with a market value of more than $78 billion. Although Regeneron gained little traction during the pandemic with its COVID-treating monoclonal antibody cocktail REGN-COV2, the brand was able to create a strong foundation for its new drug Dupixent, which was created in collaboration with Sanofi. By 2030, Regeneron will be able to gain a bigger market reach.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson is ranked 4th both in terms of innovation and invention with 141,700 employees. This brand has been a great name since the pandemic, and its vaccine was available in most countries. However, after the pandemic, this firm was able to implement more innovation in its clinical trials, which helped it to produce better clinical data for its cancer drugs, such as Darzalex and Stelara. The firm was also successful in nabbing approvals for its new drugs for treatments such as Rybrevant for patients with lung cancer who show some mutations and Invega Hafyera, a treatment for people with Schizophrenia.
Merck & Co
Merck & CO is ranked as 4th in innovation and 10th in invention. With merely 67,500 employees, the pharma company is marked as the biggest non-COVID selling drug in the world, second only to AbbVie’s Humira. The company has won three USFDA approvals, one for Welireg, a treatment for Hippel-Lindau disease, Vaxneuvance as a treatment for pneumonia that is giving tough competition to Pfizer, and Verquvo for the reduction of death risk in patients.
Due to innovations and tough competition, the scale for companies keeps going up and down. However, according to data, the companies who stick to innovations are able to emerge even out of darkness. Digital innovations make the firms able to stay in the race and compete with others to provide the best treatments.