Projected 2018 sales: $2.919 billion
2012 sales: $797 million
Cancer drug Afinitor is enjoying some time in the sun. In its April earnings release, Novartis ($NVS) reported that sales had more than doubled to $303 million for the quarter, and that Afinitor had maintained strong growth across 5 approved indications in the U.S. and EU.
One of those approved indications is the coveted nod for breast cancer, which the then-kidney and pancreatic cancer drug got in July 2012. Between U.S. and EU approval, the indication bumped sales up considerably--analysts' peak sales expectations rose by $1.5 billion with the U.S. indication alone. It also made Afinitor the first mTor inhibitor to win a breast cancer indication.
Novartis is trying to expand Afinitor's breast cancer reach, but NICE is so far unconvinced that Afinitor is worth the price for that indication. Despite Novartis offering to provide the first month's treatment for free, the agency last week rejected its sticker price of £2,970 per month, or about $4,420. Approval from NICE clears a drug for use by Britain's National Health Service, but other countries also look to the regulatory body when deciding whether to shell out for a treatment.
Nevertheless, Novartis may be on the way to broadening its use for breast cancer. This May, Novartis said Afinitor extended progression-free survival in women with HER2-positive breast cancer when used in combination with Roche's ($RHHBY) Herceptin and the chemo drug vinorelbine, compared with patients on just those two treatments alone.
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