Lilly, Biogen and more gear up for blockbuster launches in 2023: report

With many of the world’s top-selling drugs speeding toward patent expirations over the next few years, pharmaceutical companies are hurrying to identify replacements.

In its 11th annual list of Drugs to Watch, data analytics company Clarivate highlights 15 that were launched in the U.S. last year or are likely to be approved in 2023.

In addition to identifying (PDF) drugs destined for blockbuster status, Clarivate also selected treatments that have the “potential to transform treatment paradigms.”

The only drugmaker with more than one medicine on the list was Eli Lilly. The company's highly anticipated Alzheimer’s disease treatment donanemab and ulcerative colitis therapy mirikizumab are each likely to be endorsed by the FDA this year.

Clarivate identified only two drugs—both for plaque psoriasis—that are expected to achieve sales of at least $2 billion in 2027. Those are Bristol Myers Squibb’s Sotyktu, which won FDA approval in September, and UCB’s plaque psoriasis treatment bimekizumab, which has been approved in Europe but was rejected by the FDA in May because of inspection observations. A new FDA decision on that therapy is expected in the second quarter of this year.

Only one other drug, Johnson & Johnson’s Tecvayli, which gained approval to treat multiple myeloma in October, is expected to reach sales of more than $1.3 billion in four years. Clarivate estimates the first-in-class bispecific antibody will generate $1.8 billion in 2027 sales.

Four other drugs identified by Clarivate are expected to reach $1 billion in sales in 2027. Two of them—Eisai and Biogen’s Leqembi for Alzheimer’s and Gilead’s long-acting injectable Sunlenca for HIV—won approvals in the last three weeks.

The other two medicines expected to reach sales of $1 billion by 2027 are BioMarin’s hemophilia gene therapy Roctavian, which has an FDA decision date of March 31, and Apellis’ Empaveli, which snared an approval in the rare disease paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria in 2021 but is likely to gain a more impactful endorsement in geographic atrophy this year.

Drugs that will have less commercial impact but still made the list as transformative treatments include AstraZeneca’s capivasertib for breast cancer, GSK’s daprodustat for chronic kidney disease, AbbVie’s foscarbidopa for Parkinson’s disease and Pfizer’s ritlecitinib for alopecia, according to Clarivate.