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Roche maintains top place in biologic sales

But the looming threat of biosimilars is set to shake up the market

Roche 

Roche is still leading the pack when it comes to biologic sales as its cancer medicines continue to pull in strong revenue, according to data exclusively published on PMLiVE by analysts at GlobalData.

The Swiss firm markets blood cancer and auto inflammatory drug MabThera (rituximab) and colorectal, breast, lung, ovarian and kidney cancer drug Avastin (bevacizumab), both of which are the top selling oncology products in the world with combined sales of CHF13.3bn ($13.9bn) in 2014.

It also has a strong showing from across its drug portfolio, with its breast cancer drug Herceptin (trastuzumab) bringing in more than CHF6bn last year, with eye drug Lucentis (ranibizumab) and lung cancer treatment Tarveca (erlotinib) also making CHF3bn collectively in 2014. 

Roche has been top of this leader board for the past three years. Amgen, Novo Nordisk, AbbVie and Sanofi round off the top five positions, which remain largely unchanged from 2013.

Novo Nordisk and Sanofi see large sales from their insulin products while Amgen's bone drug Prolia (denosumab) and chemotherapy side effects drug Neulasta (pegfilgrastim), make up the bulk of its biologics sales.

AbbVie relies almost entirely on the $13bn of revenue coming from its auto inflammatory medicine Humira (adalimumab), which was the biggest selling drug in the world last year.

But whilst the leader board has remained static, this is all set to change from 2016 as the advent of biosimilars in Europe and the US start to come to the fore.

Biosimilar versions of Janssen/Merck's Remicade (infliximab) have already been approved in Europe, which is expected to wipe off around $2bn of sales a year from the region. 

Humira and Lantus are the next two drugs that are expected to face the biosimilar threat, although as the market is still in its infancy, the issues over patents and the regulatory pathways for approving biosimilar treatments remain contentious points,

This means initial launches of these medicines will likely see delays and difficulties.

But once the teething problems have been worked out, the copycat versions of these biologics are set to be sold at around 20-30% cheaper than their original equivalents. 

As the combined global sales of Lantus and Humira topped $21bn last year, significant savings for payers is on the horizon - and a major drop in revenue for those companies selling biologics. 

The full list from GlobalData on the top 15 biologic drugs by 2014 sales is available here.

Article by
Ben Adams

24th April 2015

From: Sales

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