Evaluate Pharma, a well-known market research organization in the field of medicine, recently released the report “EP Vantage 2018 Preview”, in which it reviewed the new drug approval in 2017, and predicted the 2018 new drug approval, potential blockbuster products and so on. The report also predicted the world’s top 10 best-selling drugs in 2018. On the list, the global flagship product of American biotech giant AbbVie, “Humira” (adalimumab), will continue to lead the trend. Sales of this drug have maintained more than $ 10 billion over the years. The EP predicted that Humira’s global sales in 2018 would exceed $ 20 billion. While AbbVie’s management set Humira’s 2018 sales target at $ 21 billion.
For AbbVie, the reason why EP was able to give a figure of 20 billion US dollars stemmed from a recent statement from Amgen. The paper stated that the adalimumab biosimilar drug wouldn’t be put on the market until 2023, despite the FDA approval of the adalimumab biosimilar drug in Amgen. As early as August of this year, analysts of EP had predicted that by the year of 2022, Humira’s total sales since listing would reach a total of 180 billion US dollars.
On the list, the oncology drug Revlimid (lenalidomide) from Celgene ranked second with $ 9.2 billion. The data given by EP is based on the aggressive price increase strategy adopted by Celgene. Up to now, Celgene has raised its price three times in 2017, bringing the total rise to 19.8%. Revlimid is used to treat multiple myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma and myelodysplastic syndromes. In 2017, Revlimid’s worldwide sales were $ 7 billion.
Following Humira and Revlimid, Amgen and Pfizer’s anti-inflammatory drug Enbrel (etanercept) finished third with $ 7.3 billion in sales, followed by ophthalmic drug Eylea (aflibercept ) from Bayer and REGN. Eylea is now the world’s best-selling ophthalmic drug with expected sales of 6.5 billion US dollars in 2018.
On the list, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche is particularly eye-catching. The company has three drugs on the list, Avastin (bevacizumab), Rituxan (rituximab) and Herceptin (trastuzumab), which ranked 5th, 6th and 7th respectively. Each product is expected to generate $ 6.4 billion in sale in 2018. Over the years, these three products have provided Roche and its corporate Genentech with a consistent and stable cash flow.
However, with the approval of biosimilars, Roche is in fact under intense competitive pressure and the company is actively promoting the launch of new products. In the European market, Rituxan’s sales in the previous quarter fell 16% compared with the same period last year. While, a new type of tumor immunotherapy Tecentriq launched by Roche this year performed well, and has been approved for the treatment of a variety of tumors.
The one ranked eighth on the list is Johnson & Johnson’s antimicrobial drug Remicade (infliximab). EP predicted that the drug would have a global sale of $ 6.3 billion in 2018, though the drug has been captured by biosimilars in Europe and faces two generic threats in the US market. In the US market, Pfizer and Merck have launched Remicade’s biosimilars successively. However, even though Pfizer’s Inflectra has been on the market for more than a year, it has not gained much market share. Merck recently also launched an infliximab biosimilar which remains to be seen as to how much market share the drug will take up in a current situation.
Some relatively new drugs are listed at the end of the list, including Merck’s immune checkpoint inhibitor PD-1 immunotherapy Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and Johnson / Bayer’s anticoagulant Xarelto, which will bring an annual sale of $ 6.1 billion in 2018 respectively. They are all top-selling products in their therapeutic areas.