2012 Vaccine revenue: $1.38 billion

For a few months back in 2012, the future of Novartis' ($NVS) vaccine unit seemed to hang in the balance. The company needed an approval of its meningitis B vaccine to make the $7.5 billion buyout of Chiron and its vaccine candidates in 2006 stand for something. An EU approval of Bexsero in January allowed the executives at Novartis to breathe a sigh of relief. Analysts expect the European market for the shot to settle between $600 million and $700 million. 

While Novartis' vaccine revenues trail those of competitors, it is forecast to have the highest growth rate through 2018 tied to anticipated sales of Bexsero and Menveo, also a meningococcal meningitis vaccine. The company's vaccine revenue hit $1.4 billion in 2012 and will likely rise to $3.14 billion by 2018, more than twice what it is today.

For more:
Novartis lands EU approval of meningitis B vaccine Bexsero
Novartis rides high on Bexsero study results
Novartis vaccines unit's future hangs on Bexsero approval
Novartis vaccine Bexsero combats meningitis

-- Alison Bryant