14 Drugs Earn Billions for These Massachusetts Biotechs

state of Massachusetts shape filled with red and blue pills

With Boston and the surrounding area being one of the centers of the pharmaceutical world, it should come as no surprise that some of the top-selling medications are based in the Bay State.

Some of the best-selling medications have their home bases in the greater Boston area and are generating billions of dollars for companies and their shareholders. During the past year, treatments for multiple sclerosis and attention deficit disorder were some of the chief financial drivers for these companies. The Boston Business Journal put together a list of the top 14 –selling medications in Massachusetts. In its list, the Journal went from the drug with the lowest of the top 14 revenue reports to the highest. Several of the drugs on the list are marketed by the same company, which should come as no surprise.

Biogen – Biogen is almost synonymous with Boston and the company has several drugs on the Journal’s ranking. Biogen tallied six drugs on the Journal’s list, which combined generated about $10.5 billion in revenue in 2018. Benepali, an anti-inflammatory medicine used to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, generated $485 million for Biogen in 2018, according to the ranking. Spinraza, the only treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for spinal muscular atrophy, brought in $1.7 billion for Biogen in 2018. The multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri provided the company with $1.9 billion in revenue last year. Tysabri isn’t the only MS treatment to drive strong sales at Biogen. Plegridy and Avonex, interferons used to treat the disease, contributed a combined $2.4 billion and Tecfidera, used to treat relapsing MS, generated $4.3 billion. Tecfidera was the highest-earning medication of a Massachusetts-based company, according to the Journal.

Shire (Now Takeda) – Shire, which was acquired last year by Takeda Pharmaceutical, had three drugs on the Journal’s list that combined for about $3.5 billion. Vyvanse, a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, brought in the most for Shire. In 2018, the drug generated $2.4 billion in revenue. Hunter syndrome treatment Elapras generated $634 million and Fabry disease treatment Replagal brought in $490 million for Shire.

Vertex – Vertex Pharmaceuticals is known for its two top-selling cystic fibrosis treatments Orkambi and Kalydeco. In 2018, the two drugs brought in a combined $2.3 billion, according to the Journal. Kalydeco brought in $1 billion and Orkambi generated $1.3 billion.

Alexion – Alexion came in with two drugs on the top 14 list, Strensiq and Soliris. According to the list, Strensiq, which is used to treat perinatal/infantile- and juvenile-onset hypophosphatasia, brought in $475 million in 2018. Soliris, the company’s vaunted blood disorder treatment, generated $3.6 billion.

Sanofi Genzyme -- Lantus is a long-acting (basal) insulin that generated $706 million for Sanofi Genzyme in 2018.

Ironwood – Ironwood Pharmaceuticals and its partner Allergan saw 2018 revenue of $785 million from Linzess, a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation or chronic Idiopathic constipation.

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