According to GlobalData’s Pharmaceutical Drugs Development Annual Review, Sales and Forecast, Key Trends and Competitive Analysis – 2022 report, US companies take the lead in the rankings of the top five companies based on market capitalisation and sales, outperforming European and Asia-Pacific (APAC) firms despite significant sales in the APAC and European markets.

As shown in Figure 1 (above), Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J’s) market capitalisation surpasses that of Pfizer and AbbVie by a significant margin, registering an impressive 60% lead as the top-ranking company in the top ten companies. However, despite J&J’s leading market cap, Pfizer has outperformed J&J in terms of sales by a substantial margin of $36bn. Pfizer’s continued sales success is primarily attributed to the continued success of its Covid-19 therapies, Cominarty (Covid-19 vaccine, mRNA) and Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir + ritonavir), which generated revenues of $43bn and $19bn, respectively, in 2022.

US giants Merck & Co (MSD) and AbbVie continue to lead, with MSD’s market cap securing it the fourth position in the list of top ten companies, despite the fact that it surpassed AbbVie’s sales by $1.5bn. MSD’s impressive sales figures can be attributed to the significant success of its blockbuster drugs, Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and Gardasil (human papillomavirus vaccine, nonavalent). AbbVie continued its growth trajectory in market capitalisation, with its notable 19% increase from the previous year, securing it third place on the list of top ten companies. This growth could potentially be attributed to the success of AbbVie’s blockbuster immunological therapy, Skyrizi (risankizumab-rzaa), which witnessed a substantial sales increase of 76% from 2021, reaching sales of $5bn in 2022. Takeda broke into the top ten companies in 2022, achieving sales of $31bn and representing the only APAC-based company within this esteemed group. Takeda’s inclusion was accompanied by an impressive sales growth rate of 19% during that year. This remarkable rise in sales can be attributed to the substantial growth rates of 39% for Entyvio (vedolizumab) and 29% for Gammagard (immune globulin), both of which contributed significantly to Takeda’s overall performance. Notably, both Takeda and GSK exhibit the smallest market capitalisation figures within this group despite demonstrating comparable sales to Novartis, which holds the seventh position in the top ten companies by market capitalisation. This discrepancy suggests that Takeda and GSK, both of which are non-US companies, may be undervalued within the industry, with their market capitalisation indicating lower demand in relation to their actual sales performance.

In terms of geographical representation, the top ten companies encompass a significant presence from five European, four US, and one APAC company. While this European dominance may not be immediately evident within the top five rankings, it aligns with the findings of GlobalData’s Looking Ahead 2023 report, which highlights the prominence of European companies in future sales projections. According to the report, three out of the top five companies that are expected to lead the market in 2028 are based in Europe. This underscores the strong position and potential growth of European companies in the coming years.

Investors continue to demonstrate higher sentiment for US companies despite the fact that they show a similar sales performance compared to their European and APAC counterparts. Despite undervaluation, European and APAC companies make their mark on the top ten list, with greater projected future sales for these regions indicating a possible shift in the future of market capitalisation.

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