Swiss drug maker Roche continues to be at the top of the heap in oncology sales for several years and it’s no wonder with its best selling drugs such as Avastin, Herceptin, Rituxan and Triumvirate. Roche generated revenue of over $25 billion via its cancer drugs in the previous year, which is more than twice the revenue generated by its nearest competitor Novartis.
But things are transforming. While Roche will not lose its top place in the near future, not with its well performing new products such as Perjeta and Gazyva, and a PD-L1 medicine on its way, however it is important to note that Roche’s cancer portfolio increased by just 2% in 2014, in comparison to double digit increases at US based drug makers such as Celgene, Johnson & Johnson and Bristol-Myers Squibb, which took the 3rd, 4th and 5th place in oncology sales respectively. Novartis with a larger baseline to begin with, saw its cancer medicines increase by 8% for the year reaching an estimated $10.2 billion.
And with the No. 2 Novartis taking on GlaxoSmithKline’s oncology portfolio, novel immuno-oncology drugs hitting the scene and other hot new oncology products on the prowl, competitor pharmaceutical companies are gaining.
Novartis definitely will add considerably to its total for 2015, with GSK’s medicines now the fold. Those medicines brought in some $1.8 billion in 2014, which would have increased Novartis past $12 billion previous year. If it can maintain the increasing sales of Tasigna and Afinitor as they have been, each delivered raises of a minimum of 20% last year – that’s one more big chunk.
Looking further ahead, the fight for second place could heat up. Estimations for 2020 sales put Clegene’s Revlimid (It is used in people with myelodysplastic syndrome triggered by an abnormal chromosome) at $10.1 billion all on its own, and the firm’s Abraxane is predicted to provide in over $2 billion. It also has Pomalyst, a novel multiple myeloma medicine, to play a crucial role with the $2.4 billion in its 2020 prediction. Clegene’s CEO Bob Hugin states that his organization can reach $20 billion in sales by then, though some of that predicted increase is pegged on an autoimmune disease candidate.
And then there’s immuno-oncology, which appears to be ready to take cancer therapy by surprise. How it will all play out is not clear at this point. US drug maker Bristol-Myers’ Opdivo data from ASCO put its long term $6 billion prediction in question, for instance, but those medicines could change the cancer rankings significantly.