Monday, May 03, 2010

Prolia is the Most Valuable R&D Asset, Humira the No. 1 Drug

Evaluate Pharma is one of numerous pharma consulting firms to publish its own sweep of the biopharma industry in conjunction with BIO; in this case, it's a world review of the biopharma market now and in 2016, based largely on Wall Street analyst consensus figures. It's projecting that Humira, the anti-inflammatory made by Abbott and Eisai, will be the top selling drug worldwide in 2016. A year ago, Avastin, Roche/Genentech's cancer drug, seemed likely to rule the roost. Both drugs currently have global sales of about $5.6 billion, but demographics – that aging population – are playing a big role in boosting Humira and other biological anti-inflammatories. It's not an accident that Enbrel, Rituxan, and Remicade (also anti-inflammatories) are also among the top 10. 2016 is also the year Humira's US patent expires, by the way, so Avastin should have clearer sailing after that, at least until 2018, when its patent expires and barring that other competitors don't come to the fore.

Sales estimates for the anti-inflammatories are based on already approved indications, so their exposure to clinical development and regulatory risk is limited, an EP analyst says. That's not so with Avastin, which is still a work in progress: recent clinical trial setbacks (pancreatic, prostate, etc., cancers) dampened its long term prospects, although positive data in ovarian and the potential of its use in other cancers are part of the reason it is hanging on to the number 2 spot.

EP's list of the top 20 "most valuable R&D projects (ranked by net present value)," also caught this blogger's eye. Amgen's Prolia, a new osteoporosis drug, which has a PDUFA date scheduled for July 25, is number one, with expected sales of $5 billion by 2016. Following- though not closely behind-is Dendreon's Provenge, which last week--to the vast excitement of Wall Street, prostate cancer groups and immunotherapy advocates of all stripes--became the first cancer immunotherapy to get FDA approval (EP says analyst consensus figures are for $1.7 billion by 2016). Also up on the list was Benlysta, the Human Genome Sciences/GSK drug for lupus, with projected sales of $2.7 billion by 2016.

All this data is based largely on consensus forecasts of the top investment banks, supplemented in some cases by EP's own analysis. And while analyst forecasts need to be taken with a grain of salt, the moreso the further out they go, they do provide food for thought.

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