Now that March Madness is over, and everyone knows how they fared in the office pool, we have another tournament story for you. Call it blockbuster bedlam. EvaluatePharma researchers totted up sales for the last 5 years' worth of analysts' blockbuster picks--and found plenty of bad bets.
The pharma research firm ranked the 10 biggest blockbuster duds. But it also turned up the 10 most underestimated products. Before you read on, you might make a note of your own guesses for each list. Heck, start a new office pool. Then you can peek at the top 5's below, and check out EvaluatePharma's site for the rest.
Without further ado, here are the top-ranked disappointments. In 5th place, we have GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) lupus drug Benlysta, whose current 2016 sales forecast is only a quarter of the initially predicted $2.85 billion. In 4th, Amarin's ($AMRN) blood-lipid treatment Vascepa, whose 2016 forecast is now $505 million, compared with the $2 billion-plus initially expected. EvaluatePharma figures analysts tried too hard to outdo each other with rosy projections on this one.
In 3rd, Vertex's ($VRTX) hepatitis C treatment Incivek, with a 2016 forecast of $669 million, about 84% lower than early expectations of $4 billion, partly because of impending competition from all-oral hep C regimens. Then there's InterMune's ($ITMN) Esbriet, at $132 million in expected 2014 sales, down from $917 million. And topping them all is Salix Pharmaceuticals' ($SLXP) constipation drug Relistor, which was expected to bring in $865 million in 2012 and managed only $37 million. That's a 96% decline. Ouch.
On the positive side, we have Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Invega Sustenna, a long-acting antipsychotic, in 5th place; its 2014 forecast is now $1.25 billion, up 46% from an initial $853 million projection. In 4th, Gilead's ($GILD) HIV treatment Complera, a three-drug combo that's now expected to hit $1.38 billion by 2016, up from an initially projected $853 million. In 3rd, Roche's ($RHHBY) newly minted breast cancer drug Perjeta, at first expected to hit $1.07 billion by 2016--and now expected to reach $1.88 billion, a 76% increase.
In second place? The Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) melanoma drug Yervoy, one of its key new products at a time when it really needs them. It's expected to bring in $1.55 billion in 2016, up from $874 million. And the biggest outperformer is another Gilead Sciences drug: Stribild, the long-anticipated "quad" pill that puts four HIV treatments in one. Based on early success, analysts are now looking for $2.38 billion from Stribild by 2016--a 183% increase from earlier projections of $842 million.
Obviously, these updated numbers are still mostly forecasts, except in Relistor's case. But now that the drugs have at least a little exposure to the big, bad, real world, observers have a better gauge on how they might perform. We'll have to check back in 2016 to see how this second round of forecasts bears out.
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