Pharma’s most innovative companies, the 2017 ranking

NEW YORK, USA – Now in its seventh year, the Pharmaceutical Innovation Index (PII) celebrates the pharmaceutical companies that are most successful at developing and commercialising innovation.

The Index can be summarised by the question: if you gave the same molecule to two different companies in early phase, which would make the best of it?

Based on systematic, objective analysis of each company’s performance between 2011 and 2016, the 2017 ranking sees the return of some major pharma companies to the Top 10, with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck rising sharply, and continued strong performance from the mid-size, specialist players – Biogen tops the Index for the first time in its history. Johnson & Johnson, who had led the Index for 5 of the previous 6 years, continue to perform strongly, but were leapfrogged by outstanding performance from Biogen, AbbVie and Gilead.

The annual PII is the true measure of innovation in the pharma industry – meaningful medicines that deliver value to patients. The most eye-catching change in the R&D metrics for 2016 from the previous year was the fall in the number of new agents approved by the FDA: 22 for 2016 versus 45 in 2015. However, behind that headline was the companies getting the approvals: the outperformers of recent years, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Novartis, did not get a novel drug approval in 2016. Neither did Amgen, AstraZeneca (AZ), Bayer and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). In all, seven of the 13 historic big pharma companies, which received 14 approvals in 2015, came up empty-handed in 2016. The fact that innovation is being driven increasingly by smaller, possibly more agile companies, was highlighted by 14 of the 22 approvals coming from them. There are several signals there, for those who choose to listen. With ‘innovation’ such an overused term in the industry at the moment, the Pharmaceutical Innovation Index shows who is really delivering value to patients.

– Mike Rea, CEO

The PII looks subjective measures of ‘innovation’, and assesses companies based on a range of factors including speed to market, attrition rate across phases – in particular phase III, reimbursement rates, regulatory approvals, on-market performance and analyst rankings.

Pharmaceutical Innovation Index 2017

For a more in-depth look at this year’s Pharmaceutical Innovation Index, details of the methodology and the top 30 companies, and to download the White Paper, please visit PII live on our website. For questions and comments please contact