When you think of blockbusters, the first thing that comes to mind may be the last Justice League or Avengers movie you watched. The similarity between these movies is their tendency to do extremely well in box offices while making a lasting impression. In the biopharma sector, the equivalent of these “blockbusters” are blockbuster drugs.
With analogy of the movie sector, you may have known or easily guessed that blockbuster drugs are huge for the biopharma sector.
Just like blockbuster movies, what defines a blockbuster drug is its ability to do extraordinarily well. In fact, a blockbuster drug generates robust annual sales of at least US$1 billion.
All the hype to uncover the next blockbuster drug should not be surprising. But there’s more to it given what’s at stake. Generally, blockbuster drugs can generate such high revenue because they have a potential market willing to purchase these drugs.
Concentrating on the later phases of the drug pipeline (Phase III and IV), you can already see movements from biopharma players for several conditions, including cancer or diabetes.
For cancer patients, many of them would never have thought that cancer would fall upon them. But this condition is becoming more common, with cancer on the rise worldwide. To give you an idea of how prevalent cancer is becoming, a 2016 estimate points to approximately 1.6 million new cancer cases being diagnosed in the United States alone.
Eli Lilly and Breast Cancer
Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) joins the race for cancer drug development with its new drug for breast cancer, Abemaciclib.
Currently in Phase III as of late 2017, the drug brings an edge over existing therapies with an improved dosage system. The drug is estimated to launch in 2018, with sales estimated to reach US$1.8 billion in 2022.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Prostate Cancer
Not to be left out, Janssen Biotech of Johnson & Johnson has also come up with a drug for treating prostate cancer; Apalutamide.
Currently in its Phase III trials, this drug could also enter the market in the 2018. Forecasted sales are set to hit approximately US$1.1 billion in 2022.
AstraZeneca and Lymphoma
Joining the race is AstraZeneca, with their new drug for lymphoma; Acalabrutinib. Pending review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, this drug is expected to be approved in early 2018, with sales estimated at US$900 million in 2022.
Aimmune Therapeutics and Peanut Allergies
Ever had a friend wheezing from accidentally eating some food with traces of nuts in it? Well, you can now tell that friend of the upcoming drug that can treat that allergy.
This drug is named AR101, and is developed by Aimmune Therapeutics. Currently, it is in Phase III and is expected to be approved in 2019.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. But, the key idea you should realise is that these potential blockbuster drugs can revitalise a company’s prospects. Biopharma players typically generate a large part of their revenue from blockbuster drugs.
In other words, a blockbuster hit can usually better the company—just like how every new Iron Man suit helps Iron Man to become stronger (most of the time).