2015 sales: $21 million
2020 projection: $5.32 billion
Novartis ($NVS) has said it expects new heart failure med Entresto to be its "most exciting" launch ever, and it's working to make that a reality. But investors may have to wait a little while before the real excitement kicks in.
After rolling out this summer, the drug fell short in the fourth quarter of 2015, bringing in just $5 million. But the Swiss pharma giant says things are about to heat up, and it plans to make that happen with an expanded, retrained sales force that'll be targeting mainly cardiologists.
Payers have been one factor holding things up for the future blockbuster, but a pair of new deals suggest the tide may already be turning in that department. In early February, Cigna ($CI) and Aetna ($AET) announced that they had each struck "value-based" pricing accords with Novartis. Cigna's payments to Novartis will depend on Entresto's results, with dollar amounts linked to the rate of hospitalization among patients on the med. And Aetna's pact is based on the drug delivering real-world results similar to those seen in clinical trials.
Novartis will also be looking to its DTC efforts to pump up Entresto, too, but so far, its disease-awareness push is making viewers uncomfortable. Critics have called it "alarmist" and "horrifying" and accused the drugmaker of using it to "play on the fears of patients." -- Carly Helfand (email | Twitter)
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