Bayer has long counted pulmonary arterial hypertension newcomer Adempas among its Big 5 growth products. But after a slow start and a recently halted trial, maybe it shouldn’t.
Last week, the German pharma shut down a trial of the med in PAH patients with idiopathic interstitial pneumonias. The trial's independent data monitoring committee recommended the move, noting that patients in the Adempas arm could experience an increased risk of death or other serious adverse events.
The move scuttled hopes of a label expansion down the line, which could have swelled sales that right now need a boost. EvaluatePharma now predicts Adempas will rack up just $459 million in 2022 sales--a far cry from the $870 million analysts once expected to see by 2018, EPVantage notes.
Meanwhile, there’s new competition on the block for the German pharma, too. Rival Actelion, out to make up sales for aging Tracleer, has done just that with PAH newcomer Opsumit, which netted CHF 516 million ($525 million) in 2015. The Swiss biotech also recently launched blockbuster hopeful Uptravi, another baseline therapy that it hopes will help bridge the gap between Opsumit and its late-stage treatment, Veletri.
With all that in mind, it may be hard for Bayer to keep counting Adempas as a high-growth product among the likes of stars Xarelto, a blood thinner it shares with Johnson & Johnson, and Eylea, an eye therapy it markets with Regeneron. The Leverkusen-based drugmaker has been pegging those three treatments, as well as cancer meds Xofigo and Stivarga, as the future of its pharma portfolio as it transforms into a strictly life sciences-based company.
Luckily for Bayer, though, some analysts think its other quick-launchers can pick up the slack. Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal, for one, has forecast €2.5 billion in Eylea sales by 2020, "significantly ahead of the €1.5 billion guided by Bayer.”
And Stivarga looks as if it could soon be in for another approval, too. Earlier this month, Bayer announced that a Phase III study in patients with unresectable liver cancer had met its primary endpoint, topping placebo in extending overall survival among sufferers whose disease had progressed after treatment with Bayer’s own blockbuster Nexavar.
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