There’s Lots of Work at the Top 10 World’s Largest Pharmaceutical Companies

There’s Lots of Work at the Top 10 World’s Largest Pharmaceutical Companies
August 31, 2017
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Size matters. In the pharmaceutical industry, the typical largest drug company is a multinational conglomerate that brings in billions of dollars of revenue each year. A recent ranking by the Pharmaceutical Executive broke down the 10 biggest pharmaceutical companies based on their drug sales and how much they spend on research-and-development. Let’s take a look.

Top 10 World’s Largest Pharmaceutical Companies

New York, NY
Pharm Country
Basel, Switzerland
Basel, Switzerland
Kenilworth, NJ
Pharm Country
Paris, France
Johnson & Johnson
New Brunswick, NJ
Pharm Country
Foster City, CA
Biotech Bay
Brentford, U.K.
North Chicago, IL
Thousand Oaks, CA
Biotech Beach

1. Pfizer

With headquarters in New York City, Pfizer reported total 2016 revenues of $52.82 billion. The company develops and markets drugs in immunology, oncology, cardiology, diabetes/endocrinology, and neurology. It has its largest R&D facility in Groton, Conn., but also has research facilities in La Jolla, Calif., South San Francisco, Cambridge, Mass., St. Louis, Missouri, as well as Sandwich and Cambridge, UK. The company last year invested $8.841 billion into research and development.

Pfizer currently has 43 jobs listed on

2. Novartis

Based in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis reported 2016 revenue of $48.52 billion. It invested $7.916 billion into research and development, according to Pharmaceutical Executive, although the company website indicates it invested $9 billion. The company has three operating divisions, Pharmaceuticals, Alcon (eye care) and Sandoz (generics). Novartis employs about 119,000 people worldwide, and its products are sold in about 155 countries.

There are currently 31 jobs with Novartis listed on in various locations including California and New Jersey.

3. Roche

Also headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, the company reported about $50 billion (US) in 2016 revenue and employs about 94,052. The company invested about $8.717 billion into research and development. Roche has two divisions, Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics. Genentech , in California, is a wholly owned subsidiary, as is Chugai Pharmaceuticals in Japan and Ventana in the U.S.

For more information about careers with Genentech, visit their careers page. An example is a position for Laboratory Associate, Device Development which calls for a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Technology, a physical, chemical or biological science degree or equivalent.

4. Merck and Co.

Based in Kenilworth, NJ, Merck reported total sales of $39.8 billion in 2016, and invests $9.760 billion in R&D. About 12,300 people are involved in the company’s research activities. Overall, Merck employs 68,000 people worldwide, with about 26,500 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The company had operations in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific. Merck & Co. is not to be confused with Merck KgaA , which is a separate company. currently has 31 positions open with Merck. Examples include Principal Scientist – Cardiovascular and Research Associate I - Cardio-Renal and Metabolic Diseases, both in South San Francisco.

5. Sanofi

Headquartered in Paris, Sanofi reported about $33.7 billion in net sales in 2016, and invested $5.722 billion (US) in research and development. The company focuses on seven major therapeutic areas, cardiovascular, central nervous system, diabetes, internal medicine, oncology, thrombosis and vaccines. It employs approximately 110,000 people worldwide.

The company’s careers page lists positions worldwide, including Upstream Process Lab Head in France, Global Mobility Manager, Asia & JPAC in Shanghai, China, and Senior Manager Global Quality Audit in Cambridge, Mass.

6. Johnson & Johnson

Based in New Brunswick, N.J., Johnson & Johnson has about 250 subsidiary companies operating in 60 countries with products sold in more than 175 countries. Well known products include Band-Aid brand bandages, Tylenol, Johnson’s baby products, Neutrogena skin products, and Acuvue contact lenses.

In 2016, J&J reported worldwide sales of $71.9 billion. The company invested $6.967 billion in research and development.

Employment examples include Scientific Director-Preclinical Development Leader Pharmacokinetics, Dynamics and Metabolism (PCDL) in San Diego. The position is at Janssen Research & Development, a division of J&J. The candidate requires a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences or Pharmacology and a minimum five years of experience as a Preclinical Scientist in a pharmaceutical Compound Development Team.

7. Gilead Sciences

Based in Foster City, Calif., Gilead Sciences reported revenues of $30.4 billion in 2016. The company invests about $3.925 billion annually in research and development. The company is dominant in the areas of HIV, hepatitis B and C, and influenza. It has operations in North America, Europe and Australia. Gilead employs about 9,000 people worldwide.

Candidates interested in careers with Gilead can check its career page.An example of a current position is Research Associate – Medicinal Chemistry at Foster City, Calif. The position calls for a Bachelor of Science or Master’s of Science degree in Organic or Medicinal Chemistry and familiarity with modern chromatographic techniques.

8. GlaxoSmithKline

Based in Brentford, U.K., GlaxoSmithKline has commercial operations in more than 150 countries and a network of 87 manufacturers. It also has research-and-development centers in the U.K., U.S., Belgium and China. The company has three major divisions, Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and Consumer Healthcare. The company’s new chief executive officer, Emma Walmsley, is in the process of restructuring the company, focusing on pharmaceuticals and bolstering and focusing its research-and-development budget. In 2016, GSK reported 27.9 billion pounds in net sales. Pharmaceutical Executives cites GSK’s research-and-development spend at $4.697 billion.

The company currently lists 1,119 openings worldwide, with 190 in the U.S. An example is Senior Account Specialist, Vaccines. This sales position calls for at least four years of pharmaceutical sales experience and two years of Account Management experience involving hospitals or hospital systems.

9. AbbVie

Headquartered in North Chicago, Ill., AbbVie reported it employed 30,000 people in 2016. It generated $25.64 billion in revenue in 2016, and invests $4.152 billion into research and development. It has several subsidiaries, including Pharmacyclics , Stemcentrx, Immuven, Unimed Pharmaceuticals and others. The company’s primary areas are immunology, oncology, neuroscience, virology and general medicine. lists several positions at AbbVie Stemcentrx, including Senior Manager/Manager, CMC Regulatory Affairs and Scientist II/Senior Scientist I, Assay Development both located in South San Francisco.

10. Amgen

Located in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Amgen reported $22.99 billion in revenue last year. The company invested $3.755 billion into research and development. Amgen has a presence in about 100 countries and focuses on six therapeutic areas: cardiovascular disease, oncology, bone health, neuroscience, nephrology and inflammation. currently has 20 job positions at Amgen. Examples include Postdoctoral Researcher with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Director of Media Relations and Corporate Affairs and Data Scientist - PD Drug Substance Technology Engineering. The first two positions are in California, but the third is in Cambridge, Mass.

These companies represent thousands of potential jobs worldwide. Is your CV ready?

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