Copycats hurt Amgen in 2019. Can Otezla, new launches ease the pain?

amgen
Amgen posted a revenue decline in 2019 but is gunning for growth in 2020. (Amgen)

After successive revenue declines in recent quarters, Amgen finished 2019 with yet another dip in sales thanks to generics and biosimilar challenges. But thanks to new launches, biosims and recent pickup Otezla, the drugmaker sees better days ahead.

Amgen reported a fourth-quarter revenue decline of 1% to $6.2 billion as biosims eat away at Neulasta, Neupogen and Epogen. For all of 2019, sales for Neulasta fell 28% to $3.22 billion, while Neupogen fell 28% to $264 million and Epogen slipped 14% to $867 million. The company believes copycat pain will intensify this year for Neulasta. 

Aside from those meds, Amgen’s Sensipar continued its crash from generics, falling 69% for the year to $551 million.

RELATED: Amgen, maker of Enbrel, to pick up Celgene's Otezla for $13.4B. Will FTC hit back? 

On the flip side, Amgen’s 2019 launch Evenity in osteoporosis chipped in $189 million for the year after its April rollout. The company only picked up psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis med Otezla on Nov. 21, and that med generated $178 million for Amgen by the end of 2019.  

Amgen bought Otezla from Celgene last year as that company was seeking to close its merger with Bristol-Myers Squibb. Going forward, Amgen expects low double-digit percentage sales increases from the med over the next five years, and it's additionally planning to seek approvals in new uses. 

Further, the company has opportunity to launch the med in countries where it’s approved but not yet marketed. 

Aimovig, Amgen’s CGRP inhibitor approved to help prevent migraines, bested Eli Lilly’s competitor Emgality in 2019 sales. Amgen’s first-in-class med generated $306 million for the year, compared with $162 million for Emgality. 

Meanwhile, as biosims eat away at Amgen’s meds, the company has knockoffs of its own hitting back. The company’s version of Roche’s Herceptin pulled in $226 million in 2019, while its Avastin copycat generated $127 million. Amgen’s Humira biosim hasn’t yet hit the U.S. market, but it generated $215 million in other markets in 2019. 

RELATED: Amgen prices bone drug Evenity on par with rival Tymlos, but a tough marketing road lies ahead 

Even as Neulasta copycat pain intensifies in 2020, Amgen still figures its growth meds and biosims can help it return to revenue growth. For all of 2019, the company’s sales dropped 2% to $23.4 billion. This year, it expects $25 billion to $25.6 billion in revenues. It’s also planning for $700 million in capital expenditures this year. 

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