Analysts predict surge in ‘blockbuster drugs’ entering the market in 2015

Over the next twelve months there will be 11 “blockbuster” drugs entering the market, according to business intelligence company Thomson Reuters. In 2014, only three new drugs were predicted to go on to make over $1bn in annual sales, which is the threshold for blockbuster status.

In its 2015 ‘Drugs to Watch’ market insight report[1]
, Thomson Reuters has placed the melanoma drug nivolumab, marketed as Opdivo by Bristol Myers Squibb, in the top spot. The drug is predicted to make $5.7bn in sales in 2019. Nivolumab is part of a new wave of PD1 checkpoint inhibitor drugs that work by allowing the immune system to tackle cancer cells. In December 2014, it gained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration and is currently under review by the European Medicines Agency. In second place is the cholesterol-lowering drug alirocumab, called Praluent by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi. Alirocumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets the proprotein convertase subtilisin–kexin type 9. Thomson Reuters predicts that the medicine will make $4.4bn in 2019.

A combination therapy for chronic heart failure is number three on the blockbuster list, predicted to make $3.7bn in 2019. Owned by Novartis, the treatment contains the novel neprilysin inhibitor sacubitril and the angiotensin-receptor blocker valsartan.

The other eight drugs on the list are: Palbociclib (Ibrance; Pfizer), lumacaftor plus ivacaftor (Vertex Pharmaceuticals), Viekira Pak (ombitasvir, paritaprevir and ritonavir tablets; dasabuvir tablets; AbbVie), evolocumab (Amgen and Astellas Pharma), Gardasil 9 vaccine (Merck & Co), brexpiprazole (Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Lundbeck), Toujeo (new formulation insulin glargine; Sanofi) and secukinumab (Cosentyx; Novartis).

  • This story was amended on 26 March 2015 to correct one of the ingredients in Viekira Pak, which was incorrect in the ‘Drugs to Watch’ report.


[1] Jago C. 2015 Drugs to Watch. Thomson Reuters Market Insight Report. March 2015.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 4/11 April 2015, Vol 294, No 7856/7;294(7856/7):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20068210

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