22 July 2022
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2021 was a year of unprecedented success for the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, with the top 200 highest-revenue pharmaceuticals generating combined sales of $587 billion – a 17.6% increase from 2020.

Working with top-selling pharmaceuticals

With the global rollout of vaccines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Comirnaty®, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, and Moderna’s Spikevax®, made up 2 of the 3 best-selling pharmaceuticals last year. COVID-19 therapies REGEN-COV® and Veklury® were also catapulted into the top 25 rankings.

Mewburn Ellis is very proud to have been directly involved in building, managing and defending the portfolios of intellectual property rights for a large proportion of these most important drugs. We have worked on 19 of the 50 top-selling pharmaceuticals of 2021, having aggregate sales of $146 billion. This includes 4 out of the top 10, which alone saw sales in excess of $80 billion in 2021.

Go-to firm for blockbuster monoclonal antibodies

Among these best-sellers, Mewburn Ellis continues to enjoy its reputation as a go-to firm for blockbuster monoclonal antibodies, and have worked for many years to develop and help protect the patent portfolios for Herceptin®, Humira®, Avastin®, Rituxan®, Lucentis®, Xolair®, Perjeta®, Yervoy® and Opdivo®, among others. See here for more information about our work in the antibody and ADC space.

Supporting companies with their patent term extensions & exclusivity strategies globally

Mewburn Ellis has also co-ordinated the European or UK SPC portfolios for 13% of the top 100 bestselling pharmaceuticals of 2021. Our Speciality Pharma team have considerable experience navigating the complex commercial and regulatory landscape of the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.

The 2021 pharmaceutical sales figures demonstrate that Mewburn Ellis continues to be a leading firm for managing the intellectual property rights for some of the highest-profile, best-selling drugs worldwide.


About the authors

This blog was co-authored by David Brooks and Adam Gregory.


David Brooks Author Circle


David Brooks

David is a trainee patent attorney working in the area of chemistry. He has experience in managing regional phase entry of international patent applications and handling European patent oppositions. David largely works with businesses and research institutions from the UK, US and Japan seeking European patent protection. He has a Masters degree (MChem) in chemistry from the University of Nottingham and a PhD from the University of Manchester. His doctoral research focused on inorganic materials chemistry, which saw him work closely with the National Graphene Institute.

Email: david.brooks@mewburn.com


Adam is a Partner and Patent Attorney at Mewburn Ellis. He works with biotech companies to build and manage their patent portfolios, drafting patent applications and co-ordinating prosecution worldwide. Adam has particular experience handling portfolios relating to therapeutics (particularly immunotherapies, including adoptive cellular therapies), antibody technology, diagnostics, and regenerative medicine.

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