Top 5 fastest-growing drug firms


Fortune describes the 5 fastest-growing US pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Surprisingly, the top pharmaceutical manufacturer on Fortune’s Fastest-Growing Companies ranking for 2015 makes generic drugs and, unsurprisingly, Gilead Sciences, also ranks in the top 10.

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The top 5 fastest-growing pharmaceutical manufacturers in the United States, according to Fortune, are:

1.     Lannett Company in Philadelphia, which develops generic drugs for a wide range of diseases, is the fastest growing company overall on Fortune’s list this year. The company achieved 9 consecutive quarters of record net sales and a 3-year annual growth rate for earnings per share (EPS) of 314%. “The generics industry continues to enjoy a period of unprecedented pricing prosperity. Nowhere do we see that more evident than in Lannett’s financials, which continue to benefit from major pricing leverage on key limited competition generics,” analyst Elliot Wilbur of Needham & Co. wrote in a note to clients in November. Lannett also has a number of new generic drug approvals in the pipeline, including 21 Abbreviated New Drug Applications and another 43 drugs in various stages of development, according to Fortune.

2.     Gilead Sciences in Foster City, Calif., is ranked ninth on Fortune’s list, thanks primarily to bountiful sales of its Harvoni and Sovaldi hepatitis C drugs. Its EPS 3-year annual growth rate is a whopping 67%. In its most recent quarter, Gilead earnings soared 25.8% to $8.22 billion, higher than analyst estimates of $7.60 billion. Sales of its antiviral drugs rose to $7.6 billion for the second quarter of 2015, up from $6.0 billion for the second quarter of 2014, primarily due to sales of Harvoni, according to a statement from Gilead.


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3.     Ligand Pharmaceuticals in La Jolla, Calif., was ranked 19th on Fortune’s Fastest Growing Companies list because “an aggressive shopping spree for early-stage drugs helped this biotech firm more than double its revenues since 2010”, according to the magazine. It had $63 million in revenues over the last 4 quarters and sports an EPS 3-year annual growth rate of 43%. “We posted strong second quarter financial results featuring growth in royalty revenues from both of our lead commercial assets, Promacta and Kyprolis, and continued strong operating cash flow,” said John Higgins, CEO of Ligand, in a statement from the company.

4.     Illumina in San Diego, Calif., ranks 28th on the Fortune list, because it is on the forefront of a growing trend: DNA sequencing. “High demand for genetic sequencing tests helped the biotech manufacturer boost revenues 31% last year,” according to Fortune. The manufacturer recently joined with Warburg Pincus and Sutter Hill Ventures to form Helix, which “will enable individuals to acquire an unprecedented amount of genetic information by providing affordable sequencing and database services for consumer samples brought through third party partners, driving the creation of an ecosystem of consumer applications,” according to a statement from the company.

5.     Alexion Pharmaceuticals in Cheshire, Ct., ranks 51st on the Fastest Growing list in part because its lucrative drug for rare blood disorders, Soliris, helped fuel a 24% sales growth in the company’s second quarter. “In the second quarter of 2015, we achieved many significant commercial, development and financial milestones while also closing the Synageva acquisition to strengthen our position as the global leader in serving patients with devastating and rare diseases,” said David Hallal, CEO of Alexion, in a statement from the company. “In the second half of 2015, we will continue to serve more patients with PNH and aHUS, while simultaneously launching Strensiq and Kanuma globally…”

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