Biovail (TSE: BVF) is a pharmaceutical company that develops and markets small-molecule drugs. Biovail has a diverse drug portfolio, with six of its drugs each comprising at least 10% of its net sales. This is different from a lot of other pharmaceutical companies in which a single drug makes up the majority of that company's sales.
As a pharmaceutical company, BVF faces government regulation as well as stiff competition from larger companies in the industry. If BVF is unable to fend off the competition within the governmental regulations, earnings could decline as a result.
Biovail Pharmaceuticals’ drug portfolio targets three general health conditions: cardiovascular disease, pain, and CNS disorders. Within these categories, BVF specializes in the development and manufacturing of drugs, yet it leaves the marketing and distribution of certain drugs (inc. Wellbutrin) to large partners such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Biovail announced that it would gradually assume the marketing responsibility of all of its drugs. In January, 2008, Biovail announced that it will solely develop CNS drugs in the future as part of its New Strategic Focus. As per this announcement, BVF is in the process of converting R&D operations, acquiring CNS-focused companies, and hiring new management.
In 2009, BVF earned a total of $820 million in 2009. This was a significant increase from its previous year's total revenues of $757 million in 2008. However, despite the increase in total revenues, BVF was unable to increase its net income. Between 2008 and 2009, BVF's net income declined from $200 million in 2008 to $177 million in 2009.
The following are Biovail’s most significant products in terms of existing and prospective sales. Notice that Biovail produces several drugs (inc. Wellbutrin XL and Ultram ER) that are more potent, extended-release formulations of existing drugs. Also, note that demand for several of Biovail’s drugs (inc. Wellbutrin XL, Ultram ER, Zovirax) has been decreasing due to patent expiry and increased competition.
Zovirax is an antiviral cream that is used to treat Herpes. This product accounts for 74% of all topical anti-herpes prescriptions in the US. By raising the price of Zovirax to counteract a modest decrease in its demand, Biovail boosted its sales by 2% to $150M. 
Wellbutrin is an extended-release formulation of buproprion, which is a common medication used to treat depression in adults.  Biovail is currently applying for regulatory approval of Wellbutrin XL in multiple European countries, where the Firm would face strict price ceilings despite their patent protection.
Ultram is an extended-release formulation of an existing drug, tramadol hydrochloride, which is used to manage moderate to severe chronic pain in adults. A new once-daily formulation of Ultram was launched in late 2009.
Xenazine is used to treat the chorea symptoms of Huntington’s disease, which include jerky, uncontrollable movements that arise due to the CNS degeneration. This drug was approved in early 2008, and BVF has been marketing it after its acquisition of Prestwick Pharmaceuticals in 2008.
Biovail has purchased the marketing rights of several branded drugs that face generic competition (i.e. Legacy products). Most of Biovail’s Legacy drugs are used to treat cardiovascular conditions and hypertension.  Legacy products’ sales are fairly consistent.
In its Generic division, Biovail produces exact, unbranded replications of branded drugs that are already on the market. The Firm’s differentiates itself as a generic competitor by solely manufacturing drugs that are very difficult to formulate. The drugs’ markets, as a result, have limited entry by other competitors. The major products in Biovail’s generic portfolio include Tiazac and Cartizem.
Biovail’s current drug portfolio will face another series of patent expirations in 2014 and 2015. In FY2014, Biovail will lose patent protection on Ultram ER, which accounted for 11.5% of its sales. In FY2015, Biovail will lose patent protection on Xenazine, which accounted for 4% of its sales. Once Biovail loses patent protection on Ultram ER and Xenazine in FY14 and FY15, its sales will face depressive pressure from generic competition as in the cases of Wellbutrin and Zovirax.
Competitive pressure from Big Pharma encouraged mid-sized firms to specialize in smaller markets with more limited competition. The Firm’s management decided to switch to specialty-CNS markets in order to avoid such competitive pressure. Biovail, in other words, acted on the belief that specialized CNS markets are small enough to discourage entry by Big Pharma. Biovail’s switch from its traditional disease spaces to specialty CNS has been termed the “New Strategic Focus.”
After announcing the New Strategic Focus (NSF), Biovail closed down non-CNS R&D operations in Puerto Rico and announced plans to close at least one other non-CNS facility in Ireland. Additionally, the Firm hired personnel with experience in CNS pharmaceuticals in order to spearhead future acquisitions and in-sourcing of external technology.  These new hires coordinated the acquisition of Prestwick, the stepwise acquisition of Acadia, and the licensing negotiations with GSK over Wellbutrin XL. 
Since it makes drugs across many disease categories, BVF faces both large competitors such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer (PFE) and specialized mid-cap competitors like Forest Laboratories (FRX) and Cephalon (CEPH). Unlike BVF, Big Pharma firms usually have in-house sales teams that market and distribute their drugs. Furthermore, they have historically focused on disease categories with large market potential (e.g. cancer, heart disease).  Furthermore, it decreased its reliance on in-house R&D in favor of in-sourcing other firms’ technologies. In comparison to Forest’s 16.9% R&D to sales ratio, for example, Biovail only earmarks 8.6% of its revenues to R&D.