Top Pharma Companies & Drugs in 2022: Pfizer breaks US$ 100 bn barrier, AbbVie’s Humira retains 2nd spot
In 2022, the pandemic continued to bring in a windfall for pharmaceutical companies manufacturing Covid-19 products, with Pfizer’s total annual sales reaching a record high by surpassing US$ 100 billion for the first time.AbbVie, despite not having any Covid products in its portfolio, maintained its second position due to the sales of its blockbuster drug Humira and other medicines. Johnson & Johnson held onto the third spot, while Merck experienced the most significant change, climbing to the fourth position from seventh place in the previous year. AstraZeneca also moved up a spot to the eighth position. On the other hand, Novartis (fifth), Roche (sixth), BMS (seventh) and Sanofi (ninth) slipped in the rankings, while GSK (tenth) retained its position. There were no new entries in the top 10 in terms of pharmaceutical sales.View Our Interactive Dashboard on Top Drugs by Sales in 2022 (Free Excel Available)Pfizer retains top position as Comirnaty, Paxlovid, together generate over US$ 56 billion In 2022, Pfizer’s Covid-19 products — vaccine Comirnaty and antiviral pill Paxlovid — generated combined sales of US$ 56.7 billion. With a haul of US$ 37.8 billion, Comirnaty comfortably maintained its position as the top-selling drug for a second year in a row. Paxlovid brought in US$ 18.9 billion in its first full year on the market, grabbing the number four spot.Moderna’s messenger RNA Covid vaccine Spikevax generated US$ 18.4 billion in revenues, emerging as the fifth largest drug by sales in 2022.View Our Interactive Dashboard on Top Drugs by Sales in 2022 (Free Excel Available) AbbVie’s Humira, J&J’s Stelara post impressive growth; BMS face revenue declineAbbVie’s cash cow Humira, the bestselling non-Covid product in biopharma history, achieved sales of US$ 21.24 billion (partner Eisai reported another US$ 370 million) in 2022. While Humira brought in approximately 37 percent of the company’s total net revenues of US$ 58 billion in 2022, strong revenues from blood cancer drug Imbruvica, psoriasis treatment Skyrizi and rheumatoid arthritis med Rinvoq also contributed to AbbVie’s strong performance.J&J generated US$ 52.56 billion in 2022 revenues. Its pharmaceutical segment experienced an operational growth of 6.7 percent, driven by impressive performance of key drugs such as Stelara for inflammatory diseases and Darzalex for multiple myeloma. Stelara, which generated US$ 10.2 billion in overall sales last year (a growth of 6.9 percent), is expected to face generic competition in the US as its exclusivity is ending in 2023.BMS’ sales remained relatively unchanged even though its blockbuster multiple myeloma drug, Revlimid, experienced a 22 percent revenue decline due to generic competition. While Revlimid still generated sales of US$ 9.98 billion (partner BeiGene reported another US$ 80 million) in 2022, two other drugs, anticoagulant Eliquis and cancer drug Opdivo performed well. Eliquis generated US$ 11.8 billion in sales (partner Pfizer reported another US$ 6.5 billion), a 9.2 percent increase over 2021, while Opdivo achieved US$ 8.25 billion in sales (partner Ono Pharmaceuticals reported another US$ 1.05 billion). The drugmaker also introduced new products like Opdualag, Abecma and Reblozyl, which bolstered its overall sales.View Our Interactive Dashboard on Top Drugs by Sales in 2022 (Free Excel Available)Merck expands use of blockbuster Keytruda; oncology drugs boost Astra’s revenueMerck’s blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda had a remarkable year, achieving a significant year-on-year growth of 22 percent and generating US$ 20.9 billion in 2022 sales. This success propelled Keytruda to the third position among the top-selling drugs. Keytruda’s continuous expansion into new indications and treatment lines has solidified its position as a leading PD1 inhibitor, and is expected to maintain its momentum in 2023. Additionally, Merck’s Covid-19 pill Lagevrio recorded impressive sales of US$ 5.7 billion in 2022. Overall, at US$ 52 billion, the drugmaker posted spectacular growth in sales of 22 percent.AstraZeneca also experienced an impressive growth of 18 percent in 2022 to reach US$ 43 billion in revenue. The growth was primarily driven by the success of its cancer treatments, with blockbuster drugs like Tagrisso, Farxiga, Imfinzi, Lynparza playing a vital role. These drugs accounted for 35 percent of AstraZeneca’s overall revenue.View Our Interactive Dashboard on Top Drugs by Sales in 2022 (Free Excel Available)Newer meds bolster Roche’s growth; Sanofi thrives with DupixentIn 2022, Roche experienced a sales growth of 2 percent at Constant Exchange Rate (CER) to reach CHF 45.55 billion (US$ 49.8 billion). The company’s strong pharmaceutical sales were fueled by increasing demand for newer medicines, including Ocrevus (for multiple sclerosis), Hemlibra (for hemophilia A), Vabysmo (for eye conditions), Evrysdi (for spinal muscular atrophy) and cancer drug Tecentriq. In 2022, Sanofi recorded global sales of €43 billion (US$ 47.1 billion), representing a 7 percent growth at CER. The French drugmaker’s strong performance was driven by major drugs, particularly Dupixent and its vaccine franchise. Dupixent brought in impressive sales of €8.3 billion (US$ 9.1 billion), marking a significant 57 percent increase over the previous year. Originally approved by the FDA in 2017 for atopic dermatitis, Dupixent has expanded its applications to include moderate to severe asthma and eosinophilic esophagitis, contributing to its continued growth. Sanofi expects Dupixent to reach €10 billion (US$ 10.7 billion) in sales in the current year.In July 2022, GlaxoSmithKline changed its name to GSK and demerged its consumer healthcare business to form Haleon, thereby becoming a fully focused biopharmaceutical company. The British drugmaker reported a modest 8 percent growth in revenue — at £29.32 billion (US$ 36.15 billion).View Our Interactive Dashboard on Top Drugs by Sales in 2022 (Free Excel Available)Our viewAs the pandemic wanes, 2023 could be a year of transition for many drugmakers. Companies such as Pfizer, Moderna and AbbVie are implementing significant changes to their business strategies. Pfizer foresees a substantial decline in revenue, projecting a sharp drop of 33 percent with the reduced demand for its Covid-19 products. AbbVie, on the other hand, anticipates a decline in sales of its cash cow Humira due to increasing competition from biosimilars. These drugmakers are turning to innovative therapies, new indications, cost-cutting measures, acquisitions and partnerships to restrict the anticipated drop in revenues and ensure sustained growth.Barring these drugmakers, several other big players shared positive growth in the first quarter of 2023. While analysts predict Keytruda and Dupixent to continue their strong growth, there is optimism surrounding diabetes and obesity drugs, with Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy experiencing unprecedented demand. Eli Lilly is also anticipating the US approval of Mounjaro for obesity later this year. All in all, we anticipate more changes in our list of top companies and drugs for 2023!

Impressions: 5252


01 Jun 2023
Top drugs and pharmaceutical companies of 2019 by revenues
Acquisitions and spin-offs dominated headlines in 2019 and the tone was set very early with Bristol-Myers Squibb acquiring New Jersey-based cancer drug company Celgene in a US$ 74 billion deal announced on January 3, 2019. After factoring in debt, the deal value ballooned to about US$ 95 billion, which according to data compiled by Refinitiv, made it the largest healthcare deal on record. In the summer, AbbVie Inc, which sells the world’s best-selling drug Humira, announced its acquisition of Allergan Plc, known for Botox and other cosmetic treatments, for US$ 63 billion. While the companies are still awaiting regulatory approval for their deal, with US$ 49 billion in combined 2019 revenues, the merged entity would rank amongst the biggest in the industry. View Our Interactive Dashboard on Top drugs by sales in 2019 (Free Excel Available) The big five by pharmaceutical sales — Pfizer, Roche, J&J, Novartis and Merck Pfizer continued to lead companies by pharmaceutical sales by reporting annual 2019 revenues of US$ 51.8 billion, a decrease of US$ 1.9 billion, or 4 percent, compared to 2018. The decline was primarily attributed to the loss of exclusivity of Lyrica in 2019, which witnessed its sales drop from US$ 5 billion in 2018 to US$ 3.3 billion in 2019. In 2018, Pfizer’s then incoming CEO Albert Bourla had mentioned that the company did not see the need for any large-scale M&A activity as Pfizer had “the best pipeline” in its history, which needed the company to focus on deploying its capital to keep its pipeline flowing and execute on its drug launches. Bourla stayed true to his word and barring the acquisition of Array Biopharma for US$ 11.4 billion and a spin-off to merge Upjohn, Pfizer’s off-patent branded and generic established medicines business with Mylan, there weren’t any other big ticket deals which were announced. The Upjohn-Mylan merged entity will be called Viatris and is expected to have 2020 revenues between US$ 19 and US$ 20 billion and could outpace Teva to become the largest generic company in the world, in term of revenues.  Novartis, which had followed Pfizer with the second largest revenues in the pharmaceutical industry in 2018, reported its first full year earnings after spinning off its Alcon eye care devices business division that had US$ 7.15 billion in 2018 sales. In 2019, Novartis slipped two spots in the ranking after reporting total sales of US$ 47.4 billion and its CEO Vas Narasimhan continued his deal-making spree by buying New Jersey-headquartered The Medicines Company (MedCo) for US$ 9.7 billion to acquire a late-stage cholesterol-lowering therapy named inclisiran. As Takeda Pharmaceutical Co was busy in 2019 on working to reduce its debt burden incurred due to its US$ 62 billion purchase of Shire Plc, which was announced in 2018, Novartis also purchased the eye-disease medicine, Xiidra, from the Japanese drugmaker for US$ 5.3 billion. Novartis’ management also spent a considerable part of 2019 dealing with data-integrity concerns which emerged from its 2018 buyout of AveXis, the gene-therapy maker Novartis had acquired for US$ 8.7 billion. The deal gave Novartis rights to Zolgensma, a novel treatment intended for children less than two years of age with the most severe form of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Priced at US$ 2.1 million, Zolgensma is currently the world’s most expensive drug. However, in a shocking announcement, a month after approving the drug, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release on data accuracy issues as the agency was informed by AveXis that its personnel had manipulated data which the FDA used to evaluate product comparability and nonclinical (animal) pharmacology as part of the biologics license application (BLA), which was submitted and reviewed by the FDA. With US$ 50.0 billion (CHF 48.5 billion) in annual pharmaceutical sales, Swiss drugmaker Roche came in at number two position in 2019 as its sales grew 11 percent driven by its multiple sclerosis medicine Ocrevus, haemophilia drug Hemlibra and cancer medicines Tecentriq and Perjeta. Roche’s newly introduced medicines generated US$ 5.53 billion (CHF 5.4 billion) in growth, helping offset the impact of the competition from biosimilars for its three best-selling drugs MabThera/Rituxan, Herceptin and Avastin. In late 2019, after months of increased antitrust scrutiny, Roche completed its US$ 5.1 billion acquisition of Spark Therapeutics to strengthen its presence in gene therapy. Last year, J&J reported almost flat worldwide sales of US$ 82.1 billion. J&J’s pharmaceutical division generated US$ 42.20 billion and its medical devices and consumer health divisions brought in US$ 25.96 billion and US$ 13.89 billion respectively.  Since J&J’s consumer health division sells analgesics, digestive health along with beauty and oral care products, the US$ 5.43 billion in consumer health sales from over-the-counter drugs and women’s health products was only used in our assessment of J&J’s total pharmaceutical revenues. With combined pharmaceutical sales of US$ 47.63 billion, J&J made it to number three on our list. While the sales of products like Stelara, Darzalex, Imbruvica, Invega Sustenna drove J&J’s pharmaceutical business to grow by 4 percent over 2018, the firm had to contend with generic competition against key revenue contributors Remicade and Zytiga. US-headquartered Merck, which is known as MSD (short for Merck Sharp & Dohme) outside the United States and Canada, is set to significantly move up the rankings next year fueled by its cancer drug Keytruda, which witnessed a 55 percent increase in sales to US$ 11.1 billion. Merck reported total revenues of US$ 41.75 billion and also announced it will spin off its women’s health drugs, biosimilar drugs and older products to create a new pharmaceutical company with US$ 6.5 billion in annual revenues. The firm had anticipated 2020 sales between US$ 48.8 billion and US$  50.3 billion however this week it announced that the coronavirus  pandemic will reduce 2020 sales by more than $2 billion. View Our Interactive Dashboard on Top drugs by sales in 2019 (Free Excel Available)  Humira holds on to remain world’s best-selling drug AbbVie’s acquisition of Allergan comes as the firm faces the expiration of patent protection for Humira, which brought in a staggering US$ 19.2 billion in sales last year for the company. AbbVie has failed to successfully acquire or develop a major new product to replace the sales generated by its flagship drug. In 2019, Humira’s US revenues increased 8.6 percent to US$ 14.86 billion while internationally, due to biosimilar competition, the sales dropped 31.1 percent to US$ 4.30 billion. Bristol Myers Squibb’s Eliquis, which is also marketed by Pfizer, maintained its number two position and posted total sales of US$ 12.1 billion, a 23 percent increase over 2018. While Bristol Myers Squibb’s immunotherapy treatment Opdivo, sold in partnership with Ono in Japan, saw sales increase from US$ 7.57 billion to US$ 8.0 billion, the growth paled in comparison to the US$ 3.9 billion revenue increase of Opdivo’s key immunotherapy competitor Merck’s Keytruda. Keytruda took the number three spot in drug sales that previously belonged to Celgene’s Revlimid, which witnessed a sales decline from US$ 9.69 billion to US$ 9.4 billion. Cancer treatment Imbruvica, which is marketed by J&J and AbbVie, witnessed a 30 percent increase in sales. With US$ 8.1 billion in 2019 revenues, it took the number five position. View Our Interactive Dashboard on Top drugs by sales in 2019 (Free Excel Available) Vaccines – Covid-19 turns competitors into partners This year has been dominated by the single biggest health emergency in years — the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. As drugs continue to fail to meet expectations, vaccine development has received a lot of attention.  GSK reported the highest vaccine sales of all drugmakers with total sales of US$ 8.4 billion (GBP 7.16 billion), a significant portion of its total sales of US$ 41.8 billion (GBP 33.754 billion).   US-based Merck’s vaccine division also reported a significant increase in sales to US$ 8.0 billion and in 2019 received FDA and EU approval to market its Ebola vaccine Ervebo. This is the first FDA-authorized vaccine against the deadly virus which causes hemorrhagic fever and spreads from person to person through direct contact with body fluids. Pfizer and Sanofi also reported an increase in their vaccine sales to US$ 6.4 billion and US$ 6.2 billion respectively and the Covid-19 pandemic has recently pushed drugmakers to move faster than ever before and has also converted competitors into partners. In a rare move, drug behemoths  — Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) —joined hands to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. The two companies plan to start human trials in the second half of this year, and if things go right, they will file for potential approvals by the second half of 2021.  View Our Interactive Dashboard on Top drugs by sales in 2019 (Free Excel Available)  Our view Covid-19 has brought the world economy to a grinding halt and shifted the global attention to the pharmaceutical industry’s capability to deliver solutions to address this pandemic.  Our compilation shows that vaccines and drugs for infectious diseases currently form a tiny fraction of the total sales of pharmaceutical companies and few drugs against infectious diseases rank high on the sales list. This could well explain the limited range of options currently available to fight Covid-19. With the pandemic currently infecting over 3 million people spread across more than 200 countries, we can safely conclude that the scenario in 2020 will change substantially. And so should our compilation of top drugs for the year. View Our Interactive Dashboard on Top drugs by sales in 2019 (Free Excel Available)   

Impressions: 54917


29 Apr 2020
India-China border tension may impact billion dollar pharma deal; AZ’s investors worry as key cancer drug fails trial
This week in Phispers, we analyze the situation at AstraZeneca, where its much anticipated lung cancer drug failed in clinical trials. In the US, there are reports that various generic players are looking to enter into M&A deals in order to safeguard themselves against regulatory crackdown on prices. The tension along the India-China border may lead to cancellation of the Fosun-Gland deal by the Indian government and in the US, the FDA is looking to cut nicotine in cigarettes to ensure they are non-addictive. AstraZeneca’s key lung cancer drug fails in first stage trial; gets investors worried   The year 2017 was supposed to be a pivotal year for AstraZeneca. The firm was supposed to display new marvels from its laboratories and march towards annual revenues of US$ 45 billion by 2023. This target was set when Pfizer’s takeover offer was rejected in 2014. But so far, the year has turned out horribly for AstraZeneca. Its key lung cancer drug — Imfinzi — flopped in clinical trials. Known as the ‘Mystic’ study, this was the most anticipated clinical experiment in the pharmaceutical industry this year. The study was key to proving the value of the group’s new drug pipeline, after it rejected a US$ 118 billion takeover bid by Pfizer in 2014.The news crashed the share price of AstraZeneca by 15 percent. Imfinzi, an immuno-oncology drug, was said to be a potential replacement for chemotherapy. However, all is not lost yet. The first stage of the trial merely measured the drug’s ability to prevent a cancer from becoming worse. The second stage, which looks at survival rates, is said to be more important. But for Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s CEO, this came as an embarrassment. He faced a barrage of questions from analysts about future payouts of the company. He was forced to defend the company’s dividend strategies at post-result meets last week. Fears for AstraZeneca’s dividend were driven by the failure of the lung cancer. But there is hope for Astra in the future — another lung cancer pill, Tagrisso, has produced good data. And AstraZeneca is partnering with Merck on another immuno-oncology drug, Lynparza. Another downside for Astra in 2017 has been the uncertainties faced by the company regarding its top executives. It began in January this year, when Luke Miels, the head of AstraZeneca’s European operations, announced he is quitting the company to join GlaxoSmithKline. Recently, there were speculations regarding Soriot considering an offer to join Israeli drugmaker Teva as its head. He is learnt to have turned down the offer. Bleak US generics market forecast has drug makers scrambling for deals   In the US, generic drug makers are turning to M&As in order to safeguard themselves against a concerted effort by regulators to crack down on the steep prices of drugs. According to a Reuters report, Impax Laboratories, Perrigo and Alvogen have been talking to advisers about various strategic options for their generics businesses. These options range from acquisitions, as well as outright sale. Earlier, Reuters had reported that Mallinckrodt, one of the largest producers of the generic opioid painkiller oxycodone, has been exploring a sale of its specialty generics unit. In May, the CEO of Impax, which makes a generic version of the EpiPen allergy injection, said it was looking at deals. The US generics market is getting increasingly competitive. Last month, Novartis reported that sales at its Sandoz generics unit were down 4 percent. Generic drugs are cheaper versions of brand-name drugs. In the US, the government is targeting generics to cut the cost of prescription drugs. According to a 2016 report by the Journal of the American Medical Association, US consumers spend more than twice as much on drugs per capita compared to other industrialized nations. In order to bring down the prices of drugs, the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has committed to eliminating the backlog of drug applications awaiting its approval. This could mean nearly 4,000 new drugs will come onto the market over the next few years, based on FDA estimates. Even today, small and mid-sized drug makers are under pressure as consolidation among generic drug distributors has made it less profitable for them to sell their drugs. India-China border skirmish may impact Fosun-Gland deal   The heightened tensions along the India-China border are likely to impact business. In the pharmaceutical industry, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in India is likely to reject Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group’s US$ 1.3 billion acquisition of Hyderabad-based Gland Pharma Ltd, says a Bloomberg report. However, a report in The Economic Times says the proposal was listed for CCEA’s consideration two weeks back. But the CCEA is yet to take a call on the Gland Pharma-Fosun deal. “It is wrong to say that the deal has been rejected,” the official said. The Gland Pharma-Fosun deal had been approved by the now-abolished Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in March this year. And Fosun was to acquire 86 per cent stake in the injectable drugmaker.  According to IndiaSpend, China is today the 17th largest foreign direct investor in India, an improvement on the 36th rank it held in 2010. CRO Consolidation: LabCorp buys Chiltern, Evotec acquires Aptuit   Consolidation in the CRO industry continued unabated last week. LabCorp bought Chiltern for US$ 1.2 billion last week. Two years back, LabCorp had bought Covance for US$ 6.1 billion. The acquisition of Chiltern will add another 4,500 clinical outsourcing workers around the globe to its employee roster. Another CRO that made an acquisition last week was Germany’s Evotec. It bought out its rival Aptuit for US$ 300 million in cash. And the deal will add hundreds of scientists to its organization along with facilities in Basel, Oxford and Verona. Evotec has earned a large number of clients on both sides of the Atlantic. Evotec says most of Aptuit’s 750 employees are scientists. Last year, Aptuit reportedly handled 1,000 projects for some 400 companies. The CRO business has been consolidating for years, with private equity groups leading the way to build up these global organizations. Leading the pack is Thermo Fisher, which had made acquisitions worth US$ 22 billion in the last five years. Three months back, Thermo Fisher Scientific acquired Patheon NV for US$ 5.2 billion while INC Research Holdings merged with private-equity owned CRO — inVentiv Health. FDA to cut nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels   Last week, the US government proposed cutting nicotine in cigarettes to “non-addictive” levels in order to move smokers towards potentially less harmful e-cigarettes. The FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency will study regulating nicotine levels with a view towards the “FDA’s potential to render cigarettes minimally addictive or non-addictive.” “Nicotine itself is not responsible for the cancer, the lung disease and heart disease that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year,” Gottlieb said. “It's the other chemical compounds in tobacco and in the smoke created by setting tobacco on fire that directly cause illness and death,” he added.  The FDA cannot reduce nicotine levels to zero, nor can it ban cigarettes. However, after this announcement by Gottlieb, shares of major tobacco firms in the US and UK slumped. Analysts said they expect regulators in Europe to study similar actions on nicotine products. This action shakes up a public health debate on whether e-cigarettes represent a health risk or a potential benefit. NotPetya cyber attack hits Merck’s profits   Merck is the latest in a string of companies that have disclosed that their operations were significantly disrupted by the NotPetya attack, which devastated businesses and government agencies in Ukraine in June and has gradually spread around the globe. According to a Reuters report, Merck said it had been a victim of an international cyber attack in June 2017, due to which the company had to halt production of drugs. As a result, its profits for the rest of the year have been hit. The company, however, said it is yet to know the magnitude of the impact as it is in the process of restoring manufacturing operations. Merck had disclosed the attack last month, but did not disclose the manufacturing shutdown at the time. The company said it was confident that it will be able to maintain a continuous supply of its top-selling and life-saving drugs, such as cancer drug Keytruda, diabetes drug Januvia and hepatitis C drug Zepatier. However, there maybe temporary delays in delivering some other products, which the company did not identify. “Full recovery from the cyber-attack will take some time, but we are making steady progress,” CEO Ken Frazier said. At least four other major US and European firms have also experienced massive outages due to NotPetya.  

Impressions: 2603


03 Aug 2017
FDA Strikes More Than 40 Drugs Approvals In 2014
Unless you are like Voltaire and think that “The art of medicine consists of amusing patients while nature cures the disease”, you will be thrilled with the new drugs approval (NDAs) list of the FDA: about 40 new drugs in 10 therapeutic areas! It has been 18 years since the FDA approved so many new drugs, so let’s quickly take a tour at the Olympic podium:   OLYMPIC PODIUM The golden medal comes to AstraZeneca with 4 NDAs: Farxiga (diabetes), Movantik (constipation), Lynparza (ovarian cancer) and Myalept (lipodystrophy, also called fat reduction, which is common in patients with HIV and AIDS).  Then come the silver medals with 3 NDAs each: Biogen Idec with Alprolix (hemophilia B), Eloctate (hemophilia A), Plegridy (multiple sclerosis). Lilly with Cyramza (gastric cancer), Jardiance (diabetes), Trulicity (diabetes). Merck&Co with Zontivity (coronary artery disease), Belsomra (insomnia), Keytruda (melanoma). And the bronze medals with 2 NDAs each:  Boehringer-Ingelheim with Striverdi Respimat (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Ofev (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis). Cubist with Sivextro (skin infection), Zerbaxa (urinary and abdominal infections). Gilead with Zydelig (leukemia), Harvoni (hepatitis C –“first combination pill approved to treat chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 1 infection and the first approved regimen that does not require administration with interferon or ribavirin”). Novartis with Xtoro (acute otitis externa), Zykadia (lung cancer). THERAPEUTIC AREAS  In terms of therapeutic areas, infectious diseases come first with 27% of the NDAs, followed by cancer with 18% and then rare diseases with 11% according to Forbes. Knowing that a disease is classified as ‘rare’ when it affects 200,000 people maximum in the US, the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA have done a fantastic job because overall it is 25 millions American whom are concerned by orphan diseases. And how many more around the world?  According to EvaluatePharma, in 2020 orphan drugs are expected to account for 19% of the total share of prescription drug sales excluding generics, reaching $176 billion in annual sales in America alone.   Here are the main NDAs 2014 for rare diseases: Amgen with Blincyto (Philadelphia chromosome-negative precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia- leads to cancer). Anacor with Kerydin (fungal infection). BioCryst with Rapivab (influenza- infectious disease caused by the influenza virus). Biomarin with Vimizim (Morquio A syndrome- the body is missing or doesn't have enough of a substance needed to break down long chains of sugar molecules).  Boehringer-Ingelheim with Ofev (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis).  Chelsea with Northera (neurogenetic orthostatic hypotension- often associated with Parkinson’s disease). Hoffman la Roche with Esbriet (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis). Johnson & Johnson with Sylvant (multicentric Castleman’s disease- involves hyper activation of the immune system). Paladin with Impavido (leishmaniasis- disease caused by protozoan parasites). Sanofi with Cerdelga (Gaucher’s disease- genetic disease in which fatty substance accumulate in cells and certain organs). Spectrum with Beleodaq (non-Hodgkin lymphoma- group of blood cancers that includes any kind of lymphoma except Hodgkin's lymphomas). Takeda with Entyvio (ulcerative colitis ; Crohn’s disease- inflammatory disease that affects any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus) Valeant with Jublia (fungal infection).  Vanda with Hetlioz (non stop 24 hour sleep wake disorder).   The huge impact after the release of the 2014 NDAs list was the pharma exchange-traded funds flared up (Nasdaq Biotechnology Index and S&P 500 Health Care Index 34 percent and 23 percent respectively. However, finance is not everything, as we have all learned during the 2008 financial crisis, and NDAs are not the only conditions for a new strategy to success anymore, as proven by a lot of pharmaceutical companies in the past years who haven’t achieved enough revenues despite NDAs.  It seems that pricing is going to be key as competition is becoming fiercer. Look at the 2014 NDAs batch for anti bacterial drugs to treat skin infections; 3 brand new drugs for this year only.  Cubist with Sivextro Durata with Dalvance The Medecine Companies with Orbactiv Same for the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis as we just saw in the rare diseases approval list above: 2 NDAs for 2014. According to Fierce Pharma, there are 8 therapeutic areas where competition is going to be even fiercer in the future: hepatitis C, diabetes, cholesterol, hemophilia, hemo-oncology, psoriasis, melanoma and obesity. And it is not like patents are not going to continue dropping; generics represent now more than 40% of the products sales. Moreover, premium prices following NDAs have been implicating confrontations with insurers and governments in regards to diabetes and respiratory drugs in the past.  Therefore, new tactics have to be found!  AbbVie offered their new anti hepatitis C drug, Viekira Pak, at a discount price to Express Script (the largest pharmacy benefit management organization in the United States) for an exclusive distribution. Even if Viekira Pak is said to be a less convenient dosing regiment when compared to Gilead’s anti hepatitis C drug (Sovaldi), the deal was closed as Sovaldi’s premium price actually chocked the payers. It is a perfect move for AbbVie, who just lost their patent on one of their main drug: Humira (rheumatoid arthritis).  Biotech are said to be an excellent area for successful strategy as well.  If there is more success at R&D projects (as it looks to be the case in the biotech field) then R&D department cost less and the overall financial risk should be lowered.  Here are the main NDAs 2014 for biotech/ cancer:  Baxter with Obizur (hemophilia). Biogen Idec with Plegridy (multiple sclerosis), and Alprolix and Eloctate (hemophilia). Celgene with Otezla (psoriasis) Gilead with Zydelig (anti-cancer treatment). Helsinn with Akynzeo (emesis- prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer drug treatment).  Salix with Ruconest and Pfizer with Trumenba (meningitides type B). Bristol-Myers Squibb with Opdivo (melanoma) and Merck & Co with Keytruda (melanoma as well), which work by blocking a protein called Programmed Death receptor (PD-1), are the first in a coming wave of immunotherapies and are said to have the potential of generating more than 30 million USD/ year.       So in case all these new strategies don’t work and definitely become a financial matter only instead of a medical focus to help the world to live a little better, don’t forget to “always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine” as George Gordon Byron liked to advise.    

Impressions: 2385


05 Mar 2015