The top 5 vaccine makers by 2014 revenue

2014 sales: $5.26 billion

While GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) will stay in third place in 2014 sales, it won't stay there for long, thanks to its acquisition of most of Novartis' ($NVS) vaccines unit.

Glaxo's leading vaccine by far was Pediarix, raking in £828 million ($1.23 billion) in sales. Next came its hepatitis vaccines, with £559 million ($872 million) in sales and Synflorix, with £398 million ($621 million). Cervarix, GSK's competitor to Gardasil, brought in £118 million ($184 million).

The company's sales took a 1.7% dip from its 2013 numbers, but Bexsero, the star of its asset swap with Novartis, can help boost them. In March, less than a month after the acquisition, Glaxo reached a pricing agreement with the British government to supply the meningitis B vaccine to the National Health Service. At £20 a pop and with 800,000 babies to be immunized annually, GSK will be raking in £16 million ($25 million) a year.

The acquisition not only expanded the company's portfolio, but extended its manufacturing network and geographic reach, especially in the U.S.

In June, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices expanded its fairly narrow recommendation for meningitis B vaccines. And while the new recommendation is not as broad as it could be--the committee decided to let physicians decide on an individual basis to vaccinate against men B or not--it still opens up the field for Bexsero and Pfizer's Trumenba, the only two FDA-approved vaccines for the disease.

As for the days ahead, GSK's malaria jab, RTS,S or Mosquirix, received a positive opinion from the EMA, its Ebola candidate is in Phase II trials with and without a booster, and its shingles candidate recently posted superior efficacy to Merck's ($MRK) Zostavax, the only shingles vaccine approved for use in the U.S. and EU.

GSK has poured hundreds of millions of dollars and decades of research into the malaria vaccine and now awaits a WHO recommendation for what may be the first vaccine for the mosquito-borne disease. The pharma has committed to a not-for-profit price for Mosquirix.

In addition to the malaria and shingles candidates, the 14 vaccines in Glaxo's pipeline include those targeting hepatitis C, tuberculosis, RSV and exacerbations in COPD. EvaluatePharma predicts that it will post a whopping 9% growth to leapfrog Pfizer ($PFE) and Sanofi ($SNY) to arrive at the No. 2 spot in 2020.

--Amirah Al Idrus

Special Report: Pharma's top 10 M&A deals of 2014 - GlaxoSmithKline Oncology/Novartis vaccines (excluding flu)

For more:
ACIP gives Glaxo, Pfizer a lukewarm decision for new meningitis B vaccines
GSK finally seals U.K. Bexsero deal for £20 per dose
Glaxo's malaria vaccine gets EMA green light
GSK's shingles candidate more effective than Merck's Zostavax in older adults, study says
One dose of GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix may suffice