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S$36.4 billion
                   Since it was first promoted in 2000 Singapore’s pharmaceutical industry has posted strong gains. From S$4.8 billion in its first year, pharmaceutical manufacturing output rose to S$18.7 billion in 2021, lifting manufacturing output of the biomedical cluster to S$36.4 billion.
Bumper profits
from vaccines
for pharma majors
It was a stellar year for industry majors, particularly companies with vaccines to combat Covid-19. Pfizer set the stage with a record-breaking performance. Net income surged 140% to US$22 billion in 2021 on US$81.3 billion in revenue, 95% higher than the previous year. If contributions of Comirnaty and Paxlovid were excluded, the revenue for 2021 would have been a more modest US$44.4 billion, up 6% over the previous year.
Comirnaty, which it jointly developed with German biotechnology company BioNTech, is the first FDA approved Covid-19 vaccine while Paxlovid is Pfizer’s oral antiviral treatment.
S$18.7 billion
Medical Technology
S$17.7 billion
“We put billions of dollars of capital on the line in pursuit of those goals, not knowing whether those investments would ever pay off. Now, less than two years since we made that commitment, we are proud to say that we have delivered,” said Pfizer’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Albert Bourla.
The company expects more growth going forward, because of “durable Covid-19
revenue” amongst other things. For 2022, Pfizer is aiming to become the first pharmaceutical company to break the US$100 billion barrier in yearly revenue, with Comirnaty and Paxlovid accounting for half the total.
Roche also enjoyed a small boost from Covid-19 solutions, mainly from diagnostics. The Swiss manufacturer launched the world’s first commercially available Covid-19 PCR test two years ago and has since distributed ten million tests. Core operating profit (earnings before interest and tax, adjusted for one-off items) rose 2% to CHF21.9 billion on revenue of CHF62.8 billion in 2021, an increase of 8% over the previous year.
Pharma industry’s daily monitor Fierce Pharma noted, “Amazingly, in 2021 none of the top 20 companies had a revenue decrease.” In contrast in 2020, six companies in the top 20 posted a drop in revenue and only two had an increase greater than 10%, with gains due almost entirely to major acquisitions.
Of the top 20, BioNTech and Moderna recorded the biggest earnings leap in 2021.

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