The trillion-dollar medicine cabinet

Inside of a Gilead Sciences Lab
Darryl Kato, research scientist for Gilead Sciences Inc., works on the synthesis of a potential hepatitis C virus drug candidate at the company's lab in Foster City, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. Gilead acquired Pharmasset Inc. last month for its experimental hepatitis C treatments as it aims to compete with other drugmakers like Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Merck & Co. to develop a new class of oral cures for hepatitis C to replace older drugs that require injections. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by David Paul Morris — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Talk about a drug industry blockbuster. Over the past decade the market value of Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies has nearly doubled, to $1.5 trillion, thanks largely to the explosive growth of biotechnology firms. In 2004 there was just one true biotech name—Amgen—on the list. Today there are seven, with a combined market cap that is fast approaching that of the old-guard Big Pharma companies.

Data source by FactSet. Chart by Nicolas Rapp and Analee Kasudia.

This story is from the May 1, 2015 issue of Fortune magazine.

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