Top 10 Companies Leading Biotech
10/29/2015 6:29:22 AM
October 29, 2015
By Renee Morad, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
The biotech sector is bustling with activity, from big-ticket drugs to the emergence of biosimilars that’s set to shake up the sector with treatments at more affordable prices. The industry’s ability to churn out innovative solutions keeps investors tuned into company pipelines and performance, and in many cases, biotech stocks are becoming increasingly attractive.
To determine which companies are leading the biotech sector, industry analysts are turning to those companies that are addressing unmet medical needs. Leonard Yaffe, who runs a healthcare hedge fund called Stoc*Doc Partners, believes PCSK9 inhibitors, a new class of drugs shown to dramatically lower LDL cholesterol levels, are poised to double in estimated sales by 2020. In this segment, Yaffe believes biotech companies Amgen (AMGN) and Regeneron (REGN) are leading the pack.
Yaffe believes additional areas of growth include drug advances that target kidney disease, liver disease and oncology. “We’ll see big strides in these areas in the years ahead, and the companies that address these needs will likely benefit,” Yaffe told BioSpace.
Below, we take a closer look at the top 10 biotech industry leaders, based on largest 2014 market value, a proven track record of innovative treatments for patients and analyst recommendations. We've also included 2015 market cap data for each company, based on mid-day trading on October 28, 2015. While many of these companies on the list continually work to address unmet medical needs, their efforts are truly paying off in not only improving their companies’ bottom lines, but also by improving the lives of countless patients worldwide.
Top 10 Biotech Industry Leaders Based on Largest Market Value
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1. Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD)
2014 Market Value: $154.3 billion
2014 Net Sales: $20.7 billion
Five-Year Average Sales Growth (1999-2014): 14.6%
2015 Market Cap: $157.4 billion
Gilead Sciences has found itself in the hot seat for its nearly $1,000-per-day Hepatitis C drugs (sofosbuvir-based Harvoni and Sovaldi), but there’s no denying that the drug makes the biotech particularly appealing from an investor’s point of view. Sofosbuvir—the best-selling new drug ever—cures HCV more than 90 percent of the time, which is pretty significant considering that the disease affects 140 million people worldwide. As a result, Gilead’s shares have risen 463 percent over the past five years.
2. Amgen (AMGN)
2014 Market Value: $119.9 billion
2014 Net Sales: $19.7 billion
Five-Year Average Sales Growth (1999-2014): 4.7%
2015 Market Cap: $122.0 billion
The anti-inflammatory drug Enbrel is Amgen's top revenue generator, expected to bring in an estimated $1.25 billion in the third quarter of 2015. The drug was also recently granted a 16-year patent extension, which could block competition from bisimilars until 2028.
3. Celgene Corporation (CELG)
2014 Market Value: $91.9 billion
2014 Net Sales: $7.3 billion
Five-Year Average Sales Growth (1999-2014): 24.4%
2015 Market Cap: $99.1 billion
Celgene's profits have increased more than 25 percent per year for the past five years. Analysts are now eying Ozanimod, which showed promise in clinical trials for the treatment of moderate to severe ulcerative colitis.
4. Biogen, Inc. (BIIB)
2014 Market Value: $82.7 billion
2014 Net Sales: $9.0 billion
Five-Year Average Sales Growth (1999-2014): 10.1%
2015 Market Cap: $65.0 billion
Biogen's profits are up, but the biotech recently announced a restructuring program and cut 11 percent of its global workforce. Analysts are confident this will continue to drive the top-line, along with the fact that the company has a particularly strong presence in the MS market. New products such as Eloctate and Alprolix, which are hemophilia treatments, also show promise.
5. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN)
2014 Market Value: $40.2 billion
2014 Net Sales: $2.6 billion
Five-Year Average Sales Growth (1999-2014): 52.3%
2015 Market Cap: $59.9 billion
Regeneron is expanding, with recent news of the biotech adding 1,000 employees and space to its Tarrytown, N.Y. campus and 200 additional employees at a plant currently under construction in Ireland. Meanwhile, Regeneron’s eye drug Eylea saw a 50 percent growth in revenue to reach nearly $1 billion in the second quarter of this year. In addition, Praluent, which is a PCSK9 cholesterol drug, recently received FDA approval.
6. Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALXN)
2014 Market Value: $36.4 billion
2014 Net Sales: $2.1 billion
Five-Year Average Sales Growth (1999-2014): 43.0%
2015 Market Cap: $39.7 billion
Alexion Pharmaceuticals posted revenue of $636 million in the past quarter, beating analyst estimates. The firm, focused on the development and commercialization of life-transforming therapeutic products, showed revenues up 24.1 percent compared to the same quarter one year ago.
7. Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX)
2014 Market Value: $29.8 billion
2014 Net Sales: $787 million
Five-Year Average Sales Growth (1999-2014): 77.4%
2015 Market Cap: $28.9 billion
Vertex discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapies to address medical problems, with a primary focus on cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis and epilepsy. The company is also showing potential from multiple Phase III trials of new cystic fibrosis drugs, such as Orkambi, which recently won FDA approval.
8. Illumina (ILMN)
2014 Market Value: $27.9 billion
2014 Net Sales: $1.7 billion
Five-Year Average Sales Growth (1999-2014): 19.8%
2015 Market Cap: $21.0 billion
Although there's been an Illumina sell-off in recent months, many analysts believe the company’s robust revenue growth and expanding profit margins remain promising. Then there’s the company’s recent announcement that it has expanded the rights of use for the HiSeq X Sequencing System to allow customers to perform whole-genome sequencing of non-human species, which could improve everything from plants and agricultural research to model organisms in pharmaceutical research.
9. BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (BMRN)
2014 Market Value: $13.9 billion
2014 Net Sales: $667.8 million
Five-Year Average Sales Growth (1999-2014): 13.8%
2015 Market Cap: $18.1 billion
BioMarin has come under fire lately following “price gouging” claims, which sent shares falling over 17 percent, but the company is expanding its footprint with treatment for phenylketonuria, or PKU, by repurchasing rights to Kuvan and pegvaliase from Merck KgaA
for nearly $389 million upfront and about $211 million more down the road.
10. Agilent Technologies, Inc. (A)
2014 Market Value: $13.7 billion
2014 Net Sales: $7 billion
Five-Year Average Sales Growth (1999-2014): 8.7%
2015 Market Cap: $12.4 billion
Agilent is focused on life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemicals with a strong presence in the laboratory space. The company’s subsidiary, Dako, recently received FDA approval for a complementary diagnostic for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY)’s non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer drug Opdivo (nivolumab).
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