2017 cancer sales: $5.86 billion
2024 cancer sales: $14.03 billion
Rank change: +1
Pfizer has plenty of drugs in its oncology stable, including a couple of brand-new ones. The problem? In some areas, its newer products are playing from behind.
Not so with Ibrance, though. Pfizer’s cancer king was the first CDK 4/6 drug out of the gate back in 2015, and it racked up blockbuster sales before new rivals Kisqali from Novartis and Verzenio from Eli Lilly even came around. Ibrance bears green lights in more than 80 countries, and about 160,000 women have been treated with the product since it first rolled out, a Pfizer executive said recently.
Unfortunately for Pfizer, it can’t boast that kind of market lead in a lot of the fields where it competes. Take PD-1/PD-L1, for example: Bavencio, which it shares with Merck KGaA, was the fourth drug in the class, after Merck & Co.’s Keytruda, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo and Roche’s Tecentriq. And while it was the first of the group to nab an OK in metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma, it’s still well behind its rivals in lung cancer, the largest market for I-O drugs.
The lag is even more pronounced for Pfizer’s two newest oncology approvals, Vizimpro and Talzenna. Vizimpro, a once-failed targeted lung cancer drug for patients with EGFR mutations, is going up against Roche’s Tarceva, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Gilotrif and AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso. And Talzenna will have to work to gain traction in a PARP field that already features AZ and Merck’s Lynparza, Clovis Oncology’s Rubraca and Tesaro’s Zejula.
Pfizer has other drugs ready chip in with backup, though. Xalkori, though recently topped in trials by first-line ALK-positive lung cancer contenders, still put up $594 million in sales last year. And the prostate cancer therapy Xtandi, shared with Astellas, chipped in $590 million, and the two companies have plans for new uses. They're currently running a pair of trials in hormone-sensitive disease, one examining Xtandi’s effects on patients whose cancer has metastasized and one focusing on those whose cancer has yet to spread.
Meanwhile, kidney cancer giant Sutent is still turning out blockbuster numbers, and follow-up Inlyta could soon see more play, thanks to new immuno-oncology combos for the disease.