Top Pharma’s R&D Profile in Q1 2021


BtoBio Innovation


Author: Jean-Claude Muller, 穆卓Executive Editor at BtoBioInnovation







Top Pharma’s R&D Profile in Q1 2021



In the May issue of MedNous (, Victoria English, the journal editor, publishes an article, which comprehensively extends our Special Report #21. 9 of April 6, 2021 and analyses the R&D spending at the ten largest biopharmaceutical companies in the first quarter of 2021. The results of the research, to which we contributed in part, are taken from information available from financial reports as well as from presentation made by CEOs of the companies at investors’ meetings. Not all companies booked higher revenue during the first quarter but, as a group, they committed more than $22 billion (the figure could be as high as $90 billion for the full year 2021) to discover and develop products across a wide range of therapies. As a reminder, the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which supports basic research at the NIH and distributes grants for R&D efforts at other academic institutions, universities and private companies, was approved at just under $43 billion for fiscal year 2021.

Since many years now, the top ten biopharmaceutical companies comprise five European companies and five U.S. based companies. In terms of R&D spending the Roche Group continues to lead the pack.

Pharma R&D as percentage of revenue in Q1:

(In all cases, we used reported, or GAAP figures rather than figures expressed in a common currency)


Roche Group

Q1 Revenue: CHF 14.9 bln ($16.5 bln); down 1%

Q1: R&D: N/A

2020 Revenue: CHF 58.3 bln ($64.5 bln); down 5%

2020 R&D: CHF 13 bln ($14.4 bln); 22.2% of revenue



Q1 Revenue: $12.4 bln; up 1%

Q1 R&D: $2.35 bln; 18.9% of revenue


GlaxoSmithKline Plc

Q1 Revenue: £7.4 bln ($10.5 bln); down 18%

Q1 R&D: £1.118 bln ($1.58 bln); 15.1% of revenue


Sanofi SA

Q1 Revenue: €8.59 bln ($10.43 bln); down 4.3%

Q1 R&D: €1.266 bln ($1.54 bln); 14.7% of revenue


Merck & Co Inc

Q1 Revenue: $12.1 bln; down 1%

Q1 R&D: $2.465 bln; 20.4% of revenue


Johnson & Johnson Inc

Q1 Revenue: $22.3 bln; up 7.9%

Q1 R&D: $3.18 bln; 14.2% of revenue


Bristol Myers Squibb Co

Q1 Revenue: $11.07 bln; up 3%

Q1 R&D: $2.2 bln; 19.8% of revenue


Eli Lilly and Co

Q1 Revenue: 6.8 bln; up 16%

Q1 R&D: $1.685 bln; 24.8% of revenue


Pfizer Inc

Q1 Revenue: $14.6 bln; up 45%

Q1 Revenue minus Covid-19 vaccine sales: $11.1 bln

Q1 R&D: $2.014 bln; 13.8% of revenue


AstraZeneca Plc

Q1 Revenue: $7.32 bln; up 15%

Q1 R&D: $1.713 bln; 23.4% of revenue


The MedNous copyright policy does not allow us to republish the full article as such, but we can provide a limited number of PDF versions upon request at

Paris, May 23, 2021.


This document has been prepared by btobioinnovation and is provided to you for information purposes only.  The information contained in this document has been obtained from sources that btobioinnovation believes are reliable but btobioinnovation does not warrant that it is accurate or complete. The views presented in this document are those of btobioinnovation’s editor at the time of writing and are subject to change.  btobioinnovation has no obligation to update its opinions or the information in this document.








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