Blockbuster new launches coming from Intercept, Gilead and Merck: Reuters

The pharma industry heralded 11 new blockbusters in 2015, an act that's tough to follow. But while 2016 may not see quite that many, it's still on track to ring in 7 new therapies that have a shot at cracking the billion-dollar sales mark, a new analysis says.

Leading the pack will be obeticholic acid, a treatment for chronic liver diseases from Intercept Pharmaceuticals ($ICPT), according to the report from Thomson Reuters. That therapy is slated to rake in $2.62 billion by 2020, it says. Joining it in the $2 billion-plus club will be emtricitabine plus tenofovir alafenamide, a fixed-dose HIV candidate from Gilead ($GILD), part of its new TAF franchise and a follow-up to its blockbuster Truvada.

But those won't be the only liver and HIV drugs to make the list. Coming in at No. 3 will be another HIV combo from Gilead and Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Janssen comprising tenofovir alafenamide, emtricitabine and rilpivirine, consensus estimates say, with $1.57 billion in 2020 sales. And fourth will be Merck & Co.'s ($MRK) elbasvir plus grazoprevir, the cocktail that won FDA approval last week under the brand name Zepatier. Despite hefty competition from Gilead and AbbVie ($ABBV), that tandem med should generate $1.53 billion in 2020.

Next on the list will be venetoclax, a chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment that AbbVie is pinning its hopes on. The Illinois pharma will look for the candidate to join blood cancer standout Imbruvica this year and put up $1.41 billion at the beginning of the next decade.

In sixth is Acadia's ($ACAD) Nuplazid, a remedy for Parkinson's disease psychosis, and rounding out the list will be Uptravi, the new pulmonary arterial hypertension treatment from Actelion ($ACTL), which it expects to bridge the gap between the early- and late-stage meds for the disease already in its portfolio.

Notably absent? A pair of closely watched contenders from Roche ($RHHBY), each expected to post sales of about $3 billion, Reuters notes. Industry watchers are eagerly awaiting the arrival of atezolizumab, a checkpoint inhibitor, and ocrelizumab, a future multiple sclerosis star, but it's unclear whether they'll roll out this year or next.

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