We’ve all heard about Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi and Roche. They’re some of the big guys in the pharma landscape, enjoying increased popularity, splitting the high budgets and revolutionizing the healthcare and pharma industry but what’s the road they took to get here? In order to answer that question, we’re going to analyze the 10 biggest pharma companies nowadays which used to be around 60 distinct companies 20 years ago. Here’s what they did to stand the test of time and grow.
It all dates back to 1970 when Ciba-Geigy was formed by the merger of J. R. Geigy Ltd and CIBA. In 1996, from the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz Laboratories, Novartis was born. In 2005, Novartis acquired Hexal and Eon Labs, thus growing its generic division Sandoz. A year later, in 2006, Novartis acquired full control of Chiron Corp. for USD 5.1 billion. In 2010, Novartis acquired the world’s largest eye-care company Alcon for USD 39.3 billion. Three years later, in 2012, the company bought Fougera Pharmaceuticals for USD 1.5 billion. In 2016, Novartis acquired Selexys Pharmaceuticals Corporation and SelG1 antibody for reduction of pain crises in sickle cell disease (SCD).
AstraZeneca was created in 1999 following the merger of Astra and Zeneca Group. In 2004, AZ completed its first big acquisition of Cambridge Antibody Technology. Later on, in 2007, it acquired MedImmune for about USD 15.2 billion. In 2012, AstraZeneca acquired Ardea Biosciences for USD 1.3 billion. One year later, it acquired Amylin from BMS for USD 4.3 billion and in 2015 acquired ZS Pharma for USD 2.7 billion. In 2015, AstraZeneca bought 55% majority stake in Acerta for USD 4 billion.
In 2000, Pfizer acquired American pharmaceutical company Warner–Lambert for USD 111.8 billion to bring its drug, Lipitor, to market. In 2002, Pfizer aimed to acquire full rights to Pharmacia’s product Celebrex and thus agreed to buy Pharmacia for stock valued at USD 60.0 billion. In 2009, Pfizer bought pharmaceutical company Wyeth for USD 68.0 billion. In 2015, Pfizer acquired Hospira for USD 15.2 billion and announced the merger with Allergan. The latter is considered to be one of the biggest mergers in pharma history. In 2016, Pfizer announced the successful completion of its acquisition of Medivation.
Sanofi resulted from the merger between Sanofi-Synthélabo and Aventis in 2004. The former was created in 1999 when Sanofi merged with Synthélabo. Aventis was formed in 1999 following the merger of Rhône-Poulenc S.A. with Hoechst Marion Roussel (HMR). The latter itself was formed in 1995 from the merger of Hoechst AG with Cassella, Roussel Uclaf and Marion Merrell Dow.
In 2011, Sanofi-Aventis acquired Genzyme and changed its name to Sanofi.
J&J was founded in 1886 as a medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods company. The pharmaceutical division is made up of Janssen & Cilag. In 2006, Janssen acquired the consumer healthcare business of Pfizer for USD 16.6 billion in what is considered to be the company’s largest M&A deals. In 2013, the company acquired Aragon Pharma and in 2014 it bought Alios BioPharma, Inc. for USD 1.75 billion.
Merck was founded in 1668 and is the world’s oldest operating chemical and pharmaceutical company. Merck & Co. was established as a subsidiary of Merck in 1891, but became an independent company in 1917. It is known as MSD (Merck Sharp and Dohme) outside of North America. In 1993, Merck purchased Medco Containment Services Inc. for USD 6 billion. In 2009, Merck merged with Schering-Plough. The latter had acquired Organon from Akzo Nobel in 2007 while Organon resulted from a merger between Diosynth and Organon in 2004. Ten years later, Merck bought Cubist Pharmaceuticals for USD 8.4 billion.
Roche’s first acquisition took place in 1994 when the company bought Syntex Corporation for USD 5.3 billion. In 2002, Roche’s Japanese subsidiary Nippon Roche merged with Chugai. Following the deal, Roche got a majority stake in the Japanese company. In 2008, Roche acquired Ventana Medical Systems for USD 3.4 billion and in 2009, the company bought Genentech for USD 46.8 billion.
Teva resulted from the merger between Assia, Zori and Teva in 1976. In 2006, Teva completed its first big acquisition of IVAX Corporation for USD 7.4 billion. In 2011, it acquired Cephalon for USD 6.8 billion. After acquiring Auspex Pharma for USD 3.5 billion in 2015, Teva completed its acquisition of Allergan’s generics business (“Actavis Generics”) in 2016.
Gilead Sciences was founded in June 1987. Over the past 16 years, the company has made several acquisitions. The biggest ones include: CV Therapeutics for USD 1.4 billion in 2009 and USD 10.4 billion acquisition of Pharmasset in 2011.
GSK was founded in 2000 following the merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham. In 2001, GSK acquired Block Drug for USD 1.2 billion. In 2009, GSK acquired Stiefel Laboratories for USD 3.6 bn. 4 years later, in 2013, GSK acquired Human Genome Sciences (HGS) for USD 3 billion. In 2015, GSK completed the acquisition of vaccine business of Novartis and sale of its oncology business to the Swiss drug major in a global deal. Under the agreement, GSK Pharma expanded its vaccine portfolio and took over 120 employees from Novartis to boost its sales in India.
There’s so much pharma history behind all of the big names out there and the evolution is far from reaching an end. We’re looking forward to seeing what these pharma giants have in store during the next couple of years and who’s going to lead the way in the M&A sector.
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