- Johnson & Johnson leads as industry’s most valuable brand in Brand Finance Pharma 25 2020 ranking, despite a 11% drop in brand value to US$10.9 billion
- Sector’s strongest brand Roche distances Swiss rival Novartis
- Bayer drops 17% as brand image tainted by Monsanto acquisition
- Pfizer is sector’s fastest-falling brand this year, down 20%
- Sinopharm & Takeda impressive new entrants from Asia, as ranking extended to encompass sector’s 25 most valuable brands for the first time
Johnson & Johnson is the world’s most valuable pharma brand, according to the leading independent brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance. Despite suffering an 11% drop in brand value since last year, as the brand failed to meet its financial targets in the final quarter of 2019, Johnson & Johnson retains a healthy lead over competitors with a brand value of US$10.9 billion.
Johnson & Johnson’s top spot in the Brand Finance Pharma 25 2020 ranking, the latest iteration of the annual classification of the industry’s most valuable brands, extended to encompass 25 entries for the first time this year, has been sustained by the brand’s relatively strong performance in developing antimicrobial research and development – a growing area of global concern that has remained largely unaddressed by competitor pharmaceutical brands.
Richard Haigh, Managing Director of Brand Finance, commented:
“Johnson & Johnson is the most valuable pharma brand thanks to its continued investment in research and development, most recently in a vaccine designed to battle the deadly coronavirus. With a timely and relevant R&D program, Johnson & Johnson can hope to maintain its prime position in the industry for years to come.”
Roche leaves Novartis behind
Growing slowly over the years, the gap between Swiss rivals, Roche (2nd, up 10% to US$7.6 billion) and Novartis (11th, down 4% to US$3.2 billion), has widened even further in the Brand Finance Pharma 25 2020 ranking. While Roche has benefited from a renewed commitment to cancer research and an expanding market in China, Novartis has been dragged down by an unprofitable investment in Alcon (22nd, a new entry at US$1.2 billion), which resulted in a spin-off in early 2019.
Aside from determining overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics on marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. According to these criteria, Roche is now the industry’s strongest brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 79.7 out of 100 and the only one in the ranking to boast an AAA- rating. Novartis’s brand strength declined year on year to 69.6 with a corresponding AA rating, while Alcon has one of the lowest scores in the ranking and an A rating, weakened by the ongoing investigations by the US Department of Justice into the brand’s business practices in Asia and Russia. While the outcome remains to be seen, Alcon’s revenue forecasts are recovering, aided by an aging global population with increased cases of myopia – inspiring Alcon’s plans to roll out the most comfortable contact lenses in the world.
Bayer’s image tainted by Monsanto
Following three years of growth, Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto has finally taken its toll, causing a 17% drop in brand value to US$5.1 billion and a decline in brand strength from an AAA- rating to AA+. The deal has been recognized by stakeholders as catastrophic to Bayer’s reputation to the extent that, in 2019, the brand’s market capitalization fell below the total consideration paid for Monsanto. However, Bayer’s latest acquisition of BlueRock Therapeutics may set the brand back on the right track, signaling a return to a pharmaceutical focus and developing a drug pipeline that has recently been stagnant due to the Monsanto acquisition.
Pfizer is the fastest falling
Pfizer is the fastest-falling brand in the Brand Finance Pharma 25 2020 ranking, dropping by 20% to US$3.8 billion due to weak forecasts. Impacted by underperforming consumer products from a joint venture with GSK (up 7% to US$3.5 billion), Pfizer’s earnings have been significantly reduced this year, exacerbated by their spread across product segments with varying brand requirements – pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and generic medicines. However, the issue appears to have been recognized, as following the merger of equals between Pfizer’s off-patent business, Upjohn, and Mylan, it was revealed that the combined business would move forward under the name Viatris. This fresh start may deliver greater brand value in the long term, as the Mylan brand has recently been rocked by several years of declining prices, manufacturing issues at a key plant, and the prominent civil lawsuit over the 500% price hike of EpiPens, resolved in a US$465 million settlement.
Takeda & Sinopharm make an impressive debut
Following the extension of Brand Finance’s ranking of the world’s most valuable pharma brands to include 25 entries, Asian brands are featured in the ranking for the first time with the most valuable – Chinese Sinopharm (15th) and Japanese Takeda (16th) – each valued at approximately US$2.0 billion. Indicative of the rapid development within the medical device industry in China, Sinopharm has spent the last year expanding its presence in the industry, purchasing a 60% stake in China National Scientific Instruments and Materials Co. Ltd. Hot on their heels, Takeda’s prompt rebranding of Shire after its 2019 acquisition has increased the Japanese brand’s exposure in the US – the world’s largest pharmaceutical market – while adding Shire’s lucrative drug portfolio to the Takeda pipeline. Now listed on both the Tokyo and New York stock exchanges, Takeda can expand its global footprint through wider access to capital markets and longer trading hours for worldwide investors.