Biotech set to dominate drug industry growth

Source EP Vantage
Company AmgenMitsubishiRocheSanofiAbbott LaboratoriesJohnson & JohnsonWyethNovartisPfizerMerck & CoSchering-Plough 
Tags Analysis, Protein Therapeutic, Company Strategy, Monoclonal Antibody, Free Content
Date June 17, 2009

Despite some recent setbacks for Avastin’s life cycle management, the cancer antibody is still set to be the industry’s biggest-selling drug in 2014 with revenues of $9.23bn, according to latest consensus forecasts from EvaluatePharma.

The fact that a biotech product will assume Lipitor’s crown in 2012, after the cholesterol-lowering drug phenomenon goes off patent, is indicative of the increasing dominance of biotech products, and specifically cancer antibodies; seven of the top 10 drugs in 2014 are forecast to be biotech in origin, compared to five in 2008 and just one in 2000 (see tables below). In addition, recent analysis by EvaluatePharma (World Preview 2014) reveals that biotech drugs will account for 50% of the top 100 drugs in 2014, compared to just 28% last year and 11% in 2000. Although the patent life for the majority of these blockbuster biotech products extends well beyond the current patent cliff for conventional drugs, these facts illustrate the huge significance of the ongoing debate over a regulatory pathway for bio-similars in the US.

Increasing dominance of antibodies

Not only will there be a dominance of biotech products in 2014, the fact that all of the top six best-selling drugs will be biotech illustrates the importance of these products as growth drivers for the industry as it faces its biggest challenge to date, given the scale of the small molecule patent cliff (Vantage Point - boom time for generics as patent cliff looms large, May 18, 2009).

Top 10 products by sales in 2014 
Rank  Product  Company  Therapeutic Subcategory  Technology  WW sales ($m) 
 1  Avastin  Roche   Anti-neoplastic MAbs  Monoclonal antibody   9,232 
 2  Humira  Abbott + Eisai   Other anti-rheumatics  Monoclonal antibody   9,134 
 3  Rituxan  Roche   Anti-neoplastic MAbs  Monoclonal antibody   7,815 
 4  Enbrel  Wyeth  +  Amgen  +  Takeda   Other anti-rheumatics  Recombinant product   6,583 
 5  Lantus  Sanofi -Aventis  Anti-diabetics  Recombinant product   6,386 
 6  Herceptin  Roche   Anti-neoplastic MAbs  Monoclonal antibody   5,796 
 7  Crestor  AstraZeneca   Anti-hyperlipidaemics  Small molecule chemistry   5,739 
 8  Spiriva  Boehringer Ingelheim   Anti-cholinergics  Small molecule chemistry   5,552 
 9  Remicade  SGP + J&J + Mitsubishi Tanabe  Other anti-rheumatics  Monoclonal antibody   5,220 
 10  Gleevec/Glivec  Novartis   Other cytostatics  Small molecule chemistry   5,136 

Just behind Avastin, and rapidly closing the gap, is Abbott’s anti-rheumatic antibody, Humira, with forecast sales of $9.13bn in 2014. With analysts yet to fully assess the full impact of Avastin’s setback for adjuvant use in colon cancer, Humira could yet steal the number one spot.

Five of the top ten drugs in 2014 will be antibodies, three of which are specifically anti-cancer agents, illustrating the importance of this technology to the industry, which is only now bearing the fruits of decades of hard work which for the most part generated limited success.

Anti-cancer antibodies appear set to easily become the most valuable therapeutic class of drug, justifying a large proportion of Roche ’s recent move to acquire Genentech  outright.

In contrast, last year four of the top five spots were held by small molecule drugs, dominated by Lipitor with sales of $13.5bn. Avastin only just made it into the league table in tenth place.

Top 10 products by sales in 2008 
Rank  Product  Company  Therapeutic Subcategory  Technology  WW sales ($m) 
 1  Lipitor  Pfizer  + Astellas +  Almirall   Anti-hyperlipidaemics  Chiral chemistry   13,507 
 2  Plavix  BMS + Sanofi -Aventis  Platelet aggregation inhibitors  Small molecule chemistry   9,447 
 3  Advair  GlaxoSmithKline   Other bronchodilators  Small molecule chemistry   7,828 
 4  Enbrel  Wyeth  +  Amgen  +  Takeda   Other anti-rheumatics  Recombinant product   6,455 
 5  Diovan  Novartis  +  Ipsen   Angiotensin II antagonists  Small molecule chemistry   5,825 
 6  Rituxan  Roche   Anti-neoplastic MAbs  Monoclonal antibody   5,481 
 7  Remicade  SGP + J&J + Mitsubishi Tanabe  Other anti-rheumatics  Monoclonal antibody   5,293 
 8  Nexium  AstraZeneca   Antacids & anti-ulcerants  Chiral chemistry   5,200 
 9  Epogen/Procrit  J&J + Amgen  +  Kirin   Anti-anaemics  Recombinant product   5,162 
 10  Avastin  Roche   Anti-neoplastic MAbs  Monoclonal antibody   4,818 

To complete the picture and emphasise the dramatic switch in value from small molecule to biotech drug, in 2000 Amgen ’s erythropoietin agent, Epogen, was the only biotech product to make it into the top ten. The table in 2000 also reflects the dominance of cholesterol-lowering agents at the time, occupying three of the top six places.

Top 10 products by sales in 2000 
Rank  Product  Company  Therapeutic Subcategory  Technology  WW sales ($m) 
 1  Losec/Prilosec  AstraZeneca   Antacids & anti-ulcerants  Small molecule chemistry   6,260 
 2  Zocor  Merck & Co  +  Sanofi -Aventis  Anti-hyperlipidaemics  Small molecule chemistry   5,328 
 3  Lipitor  Pfizer  + Astellas  Anti-hyperlipidaemics  Chiral chemistry   5,207 
 4  Epogen/Procrit  J&J + Amgen   Anti-anaemics  Recombinant product   4,672 
 5  Norvasc  Pfizer   Calcium antagonists  Small molecule chemistry   3,361 
 6  Pravachol  BMS + Daiichi Sankyo   Anti-hyperlipidaemics  Small molecule chemistry   2,866 
 7  Prozac  Eli Lilly   Anti-depressants  Small molecule chemistry   2,585 
 8  Zyprexa  Eli Lilly   Anti-psychotics  Small molecule chemistry   2,366 
 9  Seroxat/Paxil IR  GlaxoSmithKline   Anti-depressants  Small molecule chemistry   2,349 
 10  Claritin  Schering-Plough  Anti-histamines  Small molecule chemistry   2,194 

The following table summarises some of the data in EvaluatePharma’s World Preview 2014report, illustrating how biotech products are rapidly closing the gap on small molecule drugs.

Analysis of Sales by Technology 
Sales by Technology ($bn)  2000  2008  2014 
 Biotechnology   28   108   169 
 Conventional   222   408   406 
 Other Unclassified Sales   60   127   163 
 Total Rx & OTC Sales   310   643   738 
       
% of total Rx & OTC sales       
 Biotechnology   9%   17%   23% 
 Conventional/Unclassified   91%   83%   77% 
       
% of top 100 drugs       
 Biotechnology   11%   28%   50% 
 Conventional   89%   72%   50% 

Although the higher value products are seeing a dramatic shift towards biotech, the data also illustrates that in overall value terms, small molecule drugs will still represent the bulk of the pharmaceutical market, generating revenues of $406bn in 2014, compared to $169bn for biotech products.

Nevertheless, the weight of evidence for a shift to biotech products as the industry’s growth driver is overwhelming, making the recent moves by big pharma to access biotech platforms, not only for generating innovative medicines but also to launch bio-similar products, all the more compelling.

This content is written, edited and published by EP Vantage and is distributed by Evaluate Ltd. All queries regarding the content should be directed to: news@epvantage.com

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