Large R&D-based companies

GSK leads the group in 2020, followed closely by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Shionogi has moved up, in front of Novartis and Otsuka. All companies in this group take diverse action to limit AMR. However, only a few continue to expand efforts to safeguard this critical area of modern medicine.

Overall performance - in %

86%
69%
68%
63%
54%
52%
49%
42%
GSKPfizerJohnson & JohnsonMerck & Co, IncShionogiOtsukaSanofiNovartis
Performance in 2020 Room to improve

Research Area performance - in points

16
17
12
32
17
15
11
19
13
16
12
20
10
6
11
17
15
12
17
7
9
7
16
5
12
11
10
11
8
11
5
90 80 60 40 20 0
GSKPfizerJohnson & JohnsonMerck & Co, IncShionogiOtsukaSanofiNovartis
R&D Appropriate Access Responsible Manufacturing Stewardship

GSK leads, followed closely by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Shionogi has moved up to third, in front of Novartis and Otsuka. GSK leads in all Research Areas, despite regressing in certain metrics. It has the largest pipeline (27 projects), including the bulk of new vaccines being developed. Most of its late-stage candidates are protected by plans to ensure better access and good stewardship soon after launch. GSK discloses multiple strategies to ensure a continuous supply of antibacterials to countries where they are most needed.* These include dual sourcing for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and maintaining safety stocks. However, GSK has stepped back from fully decoupling its sales agents’ bonuses from sales volumes. It has also not fulfilled its 2018 pledge to share its raw data from resistance surveillance.

Pfizer rises to second place. It is now leading across the stewardship metrics, and is the first pharmaceutical company to publicly share raw surveillance data from its ATLAS programme. After GSK, it has one of the larger vaccine pipelines, developing an improved pneumonia vaccine, as well as new clinical-stage vaccines for C. difficile, Group B Streptococcus

Johnson & Johnson maintains a comparatively strong performance, with a focus on tuberculosis, as in 2018. For example, in stewardship, Johnson & Johnson engages in several tuberculosis-related educational programmes for healthcare professionals, taking action to mitigate conflict of interest. It also supports surveillance programmes for tuberculosis, sharing data with public health authorities. 

Shionogi rises up, and invests the highest proportion of its pharmaceutical revenues in relevant R&D: USD 133 million in 2017 and 2018. It is developing several medicines that target some of the most dangerous drug-resistant pathogens.** Shionogi runs multiple AMR surveillance programmes, including one that tracks resistance of Gram-negative bacteria in 13 countries. It is the only large-research-based pharmaceutical company evaluated that fully decouples incentives for sales agents from sales volumes to help prevent the inappropriate use of all its antibacterials. Its antibacterial cefiderocol gained marketing approval in November 2019.

Since 2018, Novartis and Sanofi have licensed out or otherwise divested antimicrobial R&D assets, which contributes to their weaker performances since 2018. Both companies report a comprehensive strategy to minimise the environmental impact of wastewaters and solid waste from antibacterial manufacturing at their sites, with an aim to limit AMR. Novartis reports that, including via Sandoz, it processes more than 50 antibacterial APIs across a network of 21-40 sites, and works with more than 100 suppliers of products. Merck & Co, Inc has the second largest pipeline in the Benchmark, including antibacterial and antifungal medicines, as well as vaccines projects. The company launched a new antibiotic in July 2019, targeting carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. 

What next

The eight companies in this group are the only large-scale multinational companies still active from development to deployment of antibacterials and antifungals. Their continued commitment to antibacterial and antifungal markets is essential for maintaining our global capacity to treat infectious diseases and drug-resistant pathogens. However, the Benchmark finds that only a few companies continue to expand efforts to safeguard the continuous availability of effective anti-infectives – while others disengage. As companies step back in R&D or by ceasing production of antibacterials and antifungals, the market infrastructure becomes increasingly decentralised and patchy, raising barriers to access and availability at every step, from financing gaps for Phase III clinical studies, to a lack of oversight for preventing shortages. All companies who are working in the interest of health have clear opportunities to invest in R&D, to step up the stewardship of their products, while safeguarding their supply, and to ramp up access for populations in need.


How large R&D-based companies are compared
Large R&D-based companies are evaluated in all three research areas of the Benchmark. Not all companies are eligible for each metric, as the AMR Benchmark only evaluates companies in metrics that are relevant to its portfolio and/or pipeline. As a result, companies have different maximum possible scores and room to improve. 
Read more about the analytical framework here.


*102 low- and middle-income countries where bacterial and fungal infectious diseases are endemic, and where populations are more likely to lack access to antibacterial and antifungal medicines.
**Pathogens classed by WHO as posing a ‘critical’ threat, and/or by CDC as posing an ‘urgent’ threat to human health.


Company trends

Large R&D-based companies

GSK leads the group in 2020, followed closely by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Shionogi has moved up, in front of Novartis and Otsuka. All companies in this group take diverse action to limit AMR. However, only a few continue to expand efforts to safeguard this critical area of modern medicine.

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Generic medicine manufacturers

Cipla, Teva and Fresenius Kabi take the lead in this group in 2020. All three are implementing policies that will help ensure antibacterial and antifungal medicines are promoted responsibly. Against a backdrop of greater disclosure, the leaders in this group are reported as taking additional steps against AMR compared to 2018.

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Pharmaceutical SMEs

Entasis leads in 2020, followed closely by Wockhardt. Three leaders stand out for targeting bacteria in the highest threat category defined by WHO and the CDC, and for supporting late-stage projects with plans to ensure better access and good stewardship soon after launch. Transparency in this group has improved since 2018.

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View our detailed overview of each company’s performance

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