Rose-colored glasses off for many of 2012's new drugs, report shows

EvaluatePharma has an antidote to any starry-eyed thinking about new drug launches. According to EP Vantage's new state-of-the-industry report, many of last year's rollouts are already disappointments, at least compared with previous sales projections.

Four of 2012's top 5 biotech launches made their debuts to lower sales expectations. According to analyst estimates in January 2012, Novartis' ($NVS) meningococcal vaccine Bexsero was expected to fall just short of blockbuster status by 2016. Now, the shot's 2016 sales projection is $675 million, a drop of almost one-third. Novo Nordisk's ($NVO) Tresiba and sister drug Ryzodeg had been expected to generate $1.4 billion in 2016. Now, after another FDA delay, the consensus estimate stands at $861 million.

The only new biotech drug with an actual increase in consensus estimates? Roche's ($RHHBY) breast cancer drug Perjeta--and its projected sales took a major leap forward. The drug is expected to rack up $1.86 billion by 2016, a 73% increase from the earlier consensus of $1.07 billion.

Expectations are a bit better for the top 5 conventional drugs projected to launch last year. Pfizer's rheumatoid arthritis drug Xeljanz, for instance, is now expected to sell to the tune of $1.86 billion by 2016, up from earlier estimates of $1.4 billion, while Vertex Pharmaceuticals' ($VRTX) drug for cystic fibrosis patients, Kalydeco, has a new estimate of $1.1 billion, up 14% from last year's projections.

But Amarin's ($AMRN) cardiovascular drug Vascepa saw its analyst estimates plunge, thanks to early trouble with its launch. The fish-oil drug is now expected to bring in $845 million in 2016, compared with an earlier consensus of $2 billion. And Vivus' ($VVUS) weight-loss drug Qsymia has also been slow out of the gate, depressing expectations. It's expected to sell at a $477 million level in 2016, down 58% from previous estimates of $1.13 billion.

What about 2013's projected launches? The numbers look pretty promising, with Roche's latest breast-cancer entry, Kadcyla, carrying a $1.65 billion estimate for 2018 sales. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) is expected to garner more than $3 billion from 3 products projected to launch this year (if approved, of course). And Tecfidera, approved by FDA yesterday, has a whopping $3.7 billion consensus estimate for 2018 sales. Check out the report for more details.

- see the EvaluatePharma release

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