Biosimilars will cut top 10 vulnerable biologics almost in half by 2020: Morningstar

Biosimilar competition may take a bigger bite out of branded sales than we think. The top 10 biologics facing biosimilar competition will see sales fall to $49 billion by 2020, consensus estimates say. That's down from $62 billion last year. But according to Morningstar analysts, that 2020 sales number is too high.

In their view, biosimilars will strike sales of that group all the way down to $35 billion, Morningstar said in its latest Healthcare Observer report.

Which companies will bear the brunt of those losses? AbbVie ($ABBV) stands to lose the most, the analysts wrote, with biosimilars descending on key moneymaker Humira--a drug that brings in 60% of revenue. Roche ($RHHBY) and Amgen ($AMGN) will each have a trio of drugs--Rituxan, Herceptin and Avastin, and Neupogen, Neulasta and Epogen, respectively--under biosimilar attack.

For Roche and Amgen, though, there are bright sides to the story. Despite high biosimilar risk for the Swiss pharma giant, new products such as Perjeta and Gazyva, and the rest of Roche's pipeline "support a steady wide moat" of protection for future revenue, the analysts wrote. For Amgen, cost-cutting and its pipeline "mitigate exposure," they said.

Amgen will also be contributing to the biosimilars onslaught with challengers of its own. The California biotech joins Novartis ($NVS) and Pfizer ($PFE) in leading a biosimilars market that will hit $14 billion, the report says. And with that in mind, Morningstar expects to see 2% growth at the California biotech through 2024.

Special Reports: The 10 best-selling drugs of 2013 - Humira - Rituxan/MabThera - Avastin - Herceptin | The top 15 pharma companies by 2014 revenue - AbbVie - Roche - Amgen