2012 Vaccine revenue: $5.26 billion

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) is projected to become the largest seller of vaccines in the next 5 years, with revenue forecast at $8.8 billion. The company is responsible for Cervarix, a human papillomavirus vaccine that trails behind Merck's ($MRK) Gardasil in sales but still may be the fourth best selling vaccine by 2018, EvaluatePharma forecasts. It also has a hepatitis vaccine franchise.

And GSK is only moving forward. Early this year, the company signed a deal with India's Biological E to create a shot that combines its polio vaccine with a Biological E vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b. The move was smart, as Indian billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla, founder of the Serum Institute of India, made moves to slash the price of polio immunization to a third or quarter of its price. GSK also signed up to provide low-cost cervical cancer vaccine to developing countries through the GAVI Alliance. These partnerships will increase exposure to and sales of GSK's products.

The company also made strides with the flu vaccine, gaining FDA approval for Fluarix Quadrivalent, a seasonal flu shot that protects against four strains rather than the just the usual three, putting it ahead of most of the competition in the growth area for influenza vaccinations.

For more:
GSK teams with GlycoVaxyn to develop anti-bacterial vaccines
FDA approves GSK's quadrivalent flu vaccine
Merck, GSK partner with GAVI to provide low-cost HPV vaccine

-- Alison Bryant