Anyone hoping for an upheaval at the top of pharma's drug sales charts next year will have to keep waiting. AbbVie's anti-TNF giant Humira will continue to dominate the industry in 2018, according to a report by EP Vantage, more than doubling sales for the next closest medication.
In a report highlighting their 2018 expectations for the industry, EvaluatePharma analysts predict Humira will top $20 billion in sales next year, becoming the first drug ever to pass that threshold. They believe Celgene's Revlimid will place second with $9.2 billion in revenue.
For AbbVie, the news comes after a recent settlement with Amgen that pushes off biosimilar competition from that company until 2023, despite the fact that Amgen has an approved biosimilar. AbbVie execs have touted $21 billion as a peak sales target for the drug, which is shattering all kinds of sales records.
Back in August, EvaluatePharma analysts predicted that Humira will generate nearly $180 billion in lifetime sales through 2022, far and away the largest total.
As for Revlimid, the new sales forecast follows a move by Celgene to take its most aggressive price hikes yet, raising its list sticker three times so far in 2017 for a total of 19.8%. Revlimid treats multiple myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma and myelodysplastic syndromes; it brought in $7 billion last year.
Behind the top two in EP's 2018 rankings are Amgen and Pfizer's Enbrel, and Regeneron and Bayer's Eylea. Those two are expected to turn in $7.3 billion and $6.5 billion in sales next year, respectively.
A trio of Roche cancer drugs—Avastin, Rituxan and Herceptin—make up the 5 through 7 spots in the projection, with each expected to pull in $6.4 billion in sales next year. Those drugs have been reliable cash cows for Roche and its Genentech unit for years.
But Roche is increasingly coming under biosim threats to its big cancer drugs, and it's looking to new launches to pitch in. Rituxan grabbed attention last quarter for its 16% year-over-year decline in Europe. Among its recent rollouts is the immunotherapy Tecentriq, approved for a range of cancers.
J&J's Remicade, for its part, will continue to stand firm against a growing field of biosims, according to the EP analysis. EP predicts the drug will haul in $6.3 billion next year—good enough for eighth place—even as it's losing ground to biosimilars in Europe and facing off against two copycats in the U.S.
In the U.S., Pfizer and Merck have launched Remicade biosims, but more than a year after its rollout, Pfizer's Inflectra isn't gaining much commercial traction. Merck launched its biosim more recently, so it remains to be seen how much of a mark that product can leave on the field.
Meanwhile, with its biosim stagnating, Pfizer recently sued J&J for "anticompetitive" contracting that it argues has shut out competition. The company said J&J tied rebates on existing Remicade patients to the stipulation that payers won't use biosims, effectively blocking new entrants. J&J countered that Pfizer isn't offering enough value to win business. So far this year, Remicade has reeled in $3.45 billion in sales in the U.S., compared with $74 million for Pfizer's Inflectra.
Lastly, EvaluatePharma analysts expect some relatively newer drugs to make their way into the top 10 next year. Merck's checkpoint inhibitor superstar Keytruda and J&J and Bayer's new-age anticoagulant Xarelto will each generate $6.1 billion, rounding out the group, according to the projection. Both are the best-performing products in new classes of cancer drugs and blood thinners.