2017 cancer sales: $3.09 billion
2024 cancer sales: $8.47 billion
Rank change: +1
AbbVie made a splash in the oncology field back in 2015 when it shelled out $21 billion for a piece of cancer drug Imbruvica, which it now shares with Johnson & Johnson. Since then, it has worked to bring cancer-fighters up through its pipeline, too—and the combination of continued Imbruvica expansion plus the newer drugs has Evaluate predicting one step up for the Illinois drugmaker in the 2024 rankings.
One of those newer drugs is Venclexta, which nabbed a multibillion-dollar boost this summer when the FDA approved it in tandem with Roche’s Rituxan for certain chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients. Importantly, the agency’s OK covered patients with and without a 17p deletion; previously, it had restricted the drug’s use to those with the genetic mutation, which affects around 10% of CLL patients.
Analysts have said that the new nod alone could pad Venclexta’s sales by up to $2 billion, but on the U.K. side of the pond, cost watchdogs aren’t feeling the combo. They recently shot it down, citing problems with AbbVie’s economic models and a lack of evidence that the pairing works any better than Imbruvica does.
Speaking of Imbruvica, the drug has come through in a big way for AbbVie, delivering $2.14 billion in 2017 sales. But J&J and AbbVie—which at deal time predicted the drug would reap $7 billion in peak sales for its share alone—are still driving full speed ahead to widen the treatment’s reach.
In August, the pair picked up an FDA nod for the drug alongside Rituxan in patients with rare blood cancer Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, bringing Imbruvica’s total indication count to nine.
But Imbruvica has posted some disappointments, too. In July, the therapy struck out in previously untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, failing to best a standard-of-care chemo regimen in a phase 3 study.
AbbVie has suffered other oncology setbacks, too. It originally thought late-stage cancer candidate ROVA-T would figure into its oncology sales sooner rather than later, but in March, the company ditched plans to seek a speedy FDA approval in third-line relapsed/refractory small cell lung cancer because of disappointing data.