A Closer Look at the Top 5 Largest Pharma Companies in the World

If you google “pharma news” you’ll find an impressive number of websites dedicated to the latest news in the pharma industry, covering an impressive number of players, some new, others well-established. But who are the leaders, the companies that set new directions while changing people’s lives during the process?

Here are some interesting pieces of information on 5 of the largest pharma companies in the world.


Johnson & Johnson (J&J)


Revenue: 70.07 billion USD (2015)


Johnson & Johnson is the largest pharma company in the world. It was founded in the US in 1886 by the three Johnson brothers Robert, James, and Edward who initially only focused upon producing antiseptics in order to prevent illness and death. Consequently, Johnson & Johnson was the first company to produce first aid kits, as well as sanitary products for women, dental floss, and commercial dressings for small wounds.

Today, Johnson & Johnson has more than 127,000 employees in over 57 countries. The company’s focus in now upon 3 major areas: pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, and consumer products. J&J has manufactured innovative products Band-Aid, Tylenol, Rogaine, Johnson’s baby products, and Neutrogena skin care.




Revenue: 49.41 billion USD (2015)


Novartis, the second largest pharmaceutical company in the world, was founded in Switzerland in 1996 following the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz, two Swiss companies founded over 250 years ago. Novartis is known to be one of the biggest pharma spenders on research, investing over $9.9 billion in R&D.

The company has over 118.000 employees and is currently divided into 3 operating divisions:

Pharmaceuticals, Alcon (eye care) and Sandoz (generics). While its generics business is the second largest in the world, Novartis is number one when it comes to its Its eye care division. Novartis’s best-selling drug is Gleevec which generated sales of USD 4.7 billion in 2015 alone.




Revenue: 48.85 billion USD (2015)


Pfizer was founded in the US in 1849, which makes it one of the oldest pharma companies in the world. The company started very small. It was founded by cousins Charles Pfizer, a chemist, and Charles Erhart, a confectioner, with money borrowed from Pfizer’s father. The two soon developed their first product, an antiparasitic dubbed santonin, that was used to treat intestinal worms. The drug turned out to be a real success.

Pfizer developed many well-known pharmaceutical drugs such as antidepressant Zoloft, lowering blood cholesterol drug Lipitor, and Viagra, a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction. The company has over 78.000 employees and a profit margin that makes it the most profitable pharma company in the world.




Revenue: 50.856 billion USD (2015)


The company was founded by Fritz Hoffman-La Roche in Basel, Switzerland in 1896 during the European industrial revolution. During its first years, it successfully produced the first in a series of thyroid medications, as well as a non-prescription cough syrup dubbed Sirolin. After the World Wars, Roche became the first company to mass-produce synthetic vitamin C.

With over 88.000 employees, the company operates two segments – pharmaceuticals and diagnostics – and sells its products in over 190 countries. Roche’s prescription drugs include cancer therapies MabThera/Rituxan and Avastin, Perjeta and Kadcyla for HER2-positive breast cancer, hepatitis drug Pegasys, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis drug Esbriet, macular degeneration therapy Lucentis, and Tamiflu, which is used to prevent and treat influenza (including pandemic strains).




Revenue: 46.32 billion EUR


Bayer was founded in Germany in 1863 and it became renowned through its iconic product Aspirin which was developed in 1897. A year later, the company started the commercialization of heroin as a cough suppressant and a substitute for morphine.

Bayer’s lost its assets and trademarks during WW II as part of America’s campaign against Germany. It was only in 1978 that the company brought back its business in the US.

Nowadays, Bayer has over 116,000 employees and its key products include analgesics such as Bayer Aspirin and Aleve, food supplements Redoxon and Berocca, and skincare products Bepanthen and Bepanthol.

These are the top 5 pharma companies that probably everyone has heard of. They are closely followed by Merck, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Gilead Sciences.


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5 Things to Do in Lisbon During EASD 2017

The 53rd Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, between 11-15 September 2017.

Scientists, physicians, laboratory workers, nurses and students from all over the world will be attending this event to learn more and stay on top of the latest developments and innovations regarding diabetes, metabolism and related subjects.

Besides networking opportunities, attendees will have the chance to address the most applicable problems and solutions related to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of diabetes.

For those of you attending EASD 2017, we’ve compiled a list of 5 things to do while in the beautiful city of Lisbon.


Visit Jerónimos Monastery


Situated near the Tagus river in the parish of Belém, Jerónimos Monastery was founded in 1501 and is a monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome.

The monastery stands as a magnificent example of the Manueline style of architecture. It was classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Manueline architecture is unique to Portugal and combines Flamboyant Gothic, Moorish, and early Renaissance influences. Sculptural detail and maritime motifs are oftentimes being used and are considered characteristic elements of this type of architecture. Other Manueline architecture structures in Portugal include Batalha Monastery and the Templar Convento de Cristo in Tomar.

At Jerónimos Monastery, visitors can see the tombs of King Manuel and other figures who played an important part in Portuguese history, such as Vasco de Gama, the romantic poet Herculano and the poet Fernando Pessoa.


Take a walk and drink coffee on the Rossio Square


This is one of the most beautiful places to see in Lisbon. Rossio Square is the popular name of the Pedro IV Square and it’s located in the Pombaline Downtown of Lisbon. It has been the city’s most popular square since the Middle Ages. What used to be the place for popular riots and celebrations, bullfights and executions, is now a preferred meeting place for both locals and tourists alike.

One of Rossio Square’s top attractions is the bronze statue of Dom Pedro IV, a former king of Portugal and the first emperor of Brasil.

On the opposite sides of Rossio Square are two baroque-style fountains, while at the northern part of the square, visitors can see and explore the Dona Maria II National Theater.


Admire the Belém Palace


The Belém Palace is located in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém, on a small hill that fronts the Praça Afonso de Albuquerque, near the historical centre of Belém and the Monastery of the Jeronimos. With its five buildings dating back to the second half of the 17th century,

the palace has been the official residence of Portuguese monarchs and, after the installation of the First Republic, the Presidents of the Portuguese Republic.

Discover the city on a bike


Fun Track is a large open space on the Passeio Marítimo de Alcântara, behind the Museu do Oriente where you can rent karts, bicycles, or roller skates to travel on the 7km of cycle path that runs along the river between Belém and Cais do Sodré.

Get your legs moving and lift your tourist spirit high!


Admire the view from the 25th April Bridge


Seen as the twin sister of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the 25th April Bridge stretches across the estuary at the Tagus River in Lisbon. It was built in 1996 and it currently represents the largest suspension bridge in Europe and the 20th longest in the world.

The bridge is approximately 2.3 km long and stands over 70 metres above the water. It will give any visitor a breathtaking view of the city of Lisbon!


These were our top five picks when it comes to things you could do and see in Lisbon during EASD. That being said, book your accommodation for EASD 2017 today and start working on planning your trip.

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  • Tivoli Oriente Hotel
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  • Hotel Florida


December’s Top Pharma News

Time to see what the last month of 2016 looked like for the pharma sector. These are some of the most important developments that made the headlines in December.

Merck Won USD 2.54 bln. in Hepatitis C Drug Trial Against Gilead

A federal jury ordered Gilead Sciences to pay USD 2.54 billion in royalties after ruling that a Merck patent on hepatitis C drugs is valid.

The two companies had been in a long-running patent dispute concerning Gilead’s Sovaldi and Harvoni hepatitis C treatments. The US District Court for the District of Delaware noted that Gilead infringed upon an Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. patent for methods used to develop the two drugs. Idenix Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Merck in 2014.

Both Sovaldi and Harvoni hepatitis C treatments have been real blockbusters in terms of revenue: Sovaldi has generated more than USD 19 billion in sales for Gilead over the past 3 years while, Harvoni has gathered more than USD 23 billion since becoming available in 2014.


Johnson & Johnson Ended Discussions For Actelion Deal

Johnson & Johnson walked away from a potential merger with Europe’s largest biotech Actelion without giving any specific reason for the move.

The potential takeover would have bolstered J&J’s lung disease offering with Actelion’s pulmonary arterial hypertension portfolio.

Meanwhile, French pharma giant Sanofi is reportedly in talks with Actelion regarding a “possible strategic transaction.”


Amgen, Allergan Seek EU Approval for Avastin Biosimilar

Amgen and Allergan have submitted an application to the European health regulator to get approval for ABP 215, a biosimilar version of Roche’s cancer blockbuster Avastin.

The submission follows the results of a late-stage comparative efficacy, safety and immunogenicity study study showing that Amgen and Allergan’s ABP 215 was as effective in patients with the most common form of lung cancer as Avastin is.

GSK Filed EU Regulatory Submission For Triple Combo Therapy On COPD

GlaxoSmithKline and Innoviva filed a regulatory submission with the European Medicines Agency for once-daily, closed triple combination therapy fluticasone furoate/umeclidinium/vilanterol for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.

Closed triple combination therapy is made up of three medicines: fluticasone furoate, an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS), umeclidinium, a muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) and vilanterol, a beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA).


AZ, Bicycle Teamed Up to Develop Bicyclic Peptides

AstraZeneca entered an agreement with UK-based biotech company Bicycle Therapeutics to develop bicyclic peptides.

Bicycle molecules have low molecular weight and high target specificity which enables more efficient tumour targeting. Under the agreement, Bicycle is set to identify Bicycles for a number of targets across respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases while AstraZeneca is committed to develop and commercialise promising candidates.


Novartis Announced Acquisition of Ziarco Group Limited

Novartis has entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition of a privately held company focused on the development of novel treatments in dermatology Ziarco Group Limited.

Ziarco’s lead investigational product, ZPL389, is a potential first-in-class oral treatment for moderate-to-severe eczema.

The financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

This was it for December. See you in January with more pharma news and updates. Meanwhile, Happy New Year! 🙂


Congress Bookers provides a whole range of services needed to organize a group for a medical congress. On our website, you will find a full list of hotel allotments for the most important medical congresses in 2017, regardless of their location. The biggest congresses next year are: