Covid-Related Sales Boost BioNTech, Moderna and Gilead

Biopharma companies ranked according to sales per employee

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Sep 27, 2022
Summary
  • Top three finishers have all seen drops in share price.
  • Success of Moderna’s mRNA technology bodes well for future.
  • Regeneron hopes sales of Eylea and Dupixent offset Covid drug loss.
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Covid-related product sales helped make BioNTech SE (

BNTX, Financial), Moderna Inc. (MRNA, Financial), Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD, Financial) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN, Financial) the most productive biopharma companies in 2021, according to a Fierce Pharma ranking.

Thanks to the demand for its Covid vaccine, BioNTech captured the top spot on the list, generating nearly $7.3 million in revenue for each of its employees. Unfortunately, the honor didn’t translate into an improved share price. Just the opposite. The stock of the German biotech declined about 32% last year and has continued its death spiral in 2022, dropping to $129, a far cry from its 52-week high of nearly $375.

The stock may look cheap if BioNTech’s CEO Ugur Sahin’s plan to make the company a “21st-century immunotherapy powerhouse” comes to fruition. BioNTech is looking to partner up with other pharma companies as it did on the Covid vaccine with Pfizer Inc. (

PFE, Financial).

The other big Covid vaccine maker, Moderna Inc. (

MRNA, Financial), earned the number-two spot, raking in $18.47 billion, or about $6.85 million per employee. Here again, the company’s productivity has done nothing to boost its share price as its market value has dropped by more than 70% in the past year.

The halcyon days of Moderna’s Covid shot may be over but the jab proved the effectiveness of the company’s mRNA technology, which bodes well for its application in other diseases, including cancer and flu, among others. Another focus is strengthening the company’s sales and marketing around the globe.

Relative to BioNTech and Moderna, Gilead Sciences Inc.’s share price performance looks good, with the stock of the third most productive biopharma dropping a mere 8% in the past year. The company earned its spot thanks in great part to Covid drug Veklury, which accounted for more than a fifth of the company’s 2021 revenues of $27.3 billion, or $1.95 million per employee.

Gilead is striving to increase the percentage of sales from cancer products from 7% to more than 30% by 2030. With 20 oncology drugs in its pipeline and 30 clinical trials ongoing, that goal looks doable. Gilead already has three successful cancer drugs on the market, Trodelvy and cell therapies Yescarta and Tecartus.

Coming in at number four is Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., which logged 2021 revenues of more than $16 billion, or $1.55 million per worker. The company’s stock shot up more than 25% earlier this month on promising results from late-stage clinical trials of its banner eye drug medication, Eylea.

Regeneron’s revenue per employee is likely to drop back to pre-pandemic levels as sales of its Covid therapy REGEN-COV will disappear after the drug was shown not to work against the omicron variant. The treatment for high-risk patients chalked up $5.8 billion in U.S. sales in 2021.

The company is hoping the shortfall can be made up by continued growth for Eylea and its drug Dupixent. Eylea’s worldwide sales went from $7.9 billion in 2020 to $9.4 billion last year, while Dupixent’s increased from $4 billion in 2020 to $6.2 billion.

Others who made the top 10 are:

5. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (

BMY, Financial)

6. Biogen Inc. (

BIIB, Financial)

7. AbbVie Inc. (

ABBV, Financial)

8. Amgen Inc. (

AMGN, Financial)

9. Pfizer Inc. (

PFE, Financial)

10. Eli Lilly and Co. (

LLY, Financial)

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I am/ we are currently short the stocks mentioned. Click for the complete disclosure
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