Hardest-charging drugs this year? They're not just Sovaldi and Olysio

Gilead's Sovaldi--Courtesy of Gilead

Every quarter, each drugmaker rolls out its own list of hope-in-a-bottle drugs. You know the ones: The products that are growing much faster than anything else in a company's line-up. For some, it's a way to offer light at the end of a dark tunnel. For others, it's sort of an I.O.U. to the future. For a few lucky ones, it's a well-deserved fanfare.

Which products were worth that treatment in the first half of 2014? Handily, FirstWord Pharma has put together a list of the biggest growth-driving drugs in the industry, ranked by the sales jump each drug took year-over-year.

At the top is the usual suspect, Sovaldi, Gilead Sciences' ($GILD) brand new hepatitis C drug. It wasn't even approved last year at this time, so its first-half sales--$5.75 billion--all count as growth. It's a similar story for Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Olysio, in second place; the hep C fighter racked up $1.19 billion in first-half sales, up from exactly zero last year.

Older drugs that pulled out the stops include one eyebrow-raiser: Sanofi's ($SNY) diabetes treatment Lantus, which saw a $511 million leap over the first half of 2013. It's been on the market since 2000. Humira, always a big growth product for AbbVie ($ABBV), jumped by even more, $1.1 billion. Then there's Celgene's ($CELG) Revlimid, that company's main growth driver, which jacked up sales by $303 million.

More recently minted products include Xarelto, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson's entry in the warfarin alternative market, which zoomed ahead by $834 million. Eylea, the hard-charging eye drug from Regeneron ($REGN) and Bayer, grew by $509 million.

Which brings us back to another brand new, big-growth product: Biogen Idec's ($BIIB) Tecfidera, the multiple sclerosis pill that hit last year. The drug's first-half sales grew by $1.01 billion, partly because Biogen had just one quarter's worth of revenue to book for the same period last year.

Who'll win the second-half growth prize? We'd wager that Sovaldi stays at the top, because its FDA approval came through at year's end. Olysio and Tecfidera could keep their positions, too, but Olysio might face new competition before 2014 runs out.

- see the FirstWord list

Special Reports: Top 15 drug launch superstars - Eylea - Tecfidera - Xarelto