Lucky 7 diabetes meds to join blockbuster club by 2020

If you pay attention to the diabetes market, you know which meds topped the 2014 sales charts. There's Sanofi's ($SNY) giant basal insulin Lantus at $8.4 billion--followed distantly by Merck's ($MRK) Januvia, Eli Lilly's ($LLY) Humalog, and three Novo Nordisk ($NVO) blockbusters.

But which diabetes med is likely to be on top in 2020?

According to FirstWord Pharma, that would be--surprise!--Lantus, albeit as a $5 billion shadow of its former self. Januvia should keep its hold on second prize with almost $4 billion, while Novo Nordisk's NovoRapid and Lilly's Humalog remain in the top 5 with $3.6 billion and $3.04 billion in sales.

New to the group: Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) fast-growing, up-and-coming SGLT2 med Invokana, expected to follow Humalog closely at just a touch over $3 billion.

Overall, there were 10 diabetes blockbuster franchises last year, FirstWord notes. By 2020, we'll have 17 on our hands, according to consensus sales estimates, including Novo's usual suspects Victoza ($2.8 billion), Levemir ($2.6 billion) and NovoLog ($1.8 billion). Januvia and Janumet, too.

Several recent and forthcoming launches will also be present and accounted for in that 2020 blockbuster stable, according to the roundup of analyst estimates. There's Invokana, of course, plus Novo's Tresiba and its combo sister Xultophy; Sanofi's Lantus follow-up Toujeo; AstraZeneca's ($AZN) Farxiga, an SGLT2 competitor to Invokana; and Lilly's Victoza rival Trulicity.

- check out FirstWord's full list

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