The drug: Enbrel
The companies: Amgen/Pfizer/Takeda Pharmaceutical
Estimated worldwide sales 2012: $8.37 billion

Unlike Pfizer's ($PFE) Lipitor or Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) and Sanofi's ($SNY) Plavix, which saw generic competition in the U.S. as soon as those patents expired, Amgen's ($AMGN) anti-inflammatory drug Enbrel wasn't staring down the barrel of a cheaper rival as its key patent wound down. One of the several companies developing a biosimilar version would have to win FDA approval first.

Those would-be copycats will have to wait a lot longer now. Enbrel was set to lose U.S. patent protection this month, until Amgen won a new patent that could shield the drug for another 17 years. That gives Amgen and partners till 2028 to reap Enbrel sales in the 5 different diseases for which it's approved.

Enbrel sales reached about $7.4 billion in 2011, $3.7 billion for Amgen and $3.7 billion for Pfizer, which markets the drug outside the U.S. and Canada. As the companies move toward an estimated $8.37 billion in 2012 sales, they're unwinding their marketing partnership, set to expire next October. Amgen took over field sales in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in July.

For more:
Pfizer, Amgen prepare to dissolve Enbrel partnership
Amgen's new Enbrel patent could delay biosims for 17 years
Enbrel beats rivals in rheumatologist survey


Suggested Articles

Bluebird Bio has overcome a manufacturing hiccup that looked like it would delay its gene therapy launch in Europe until next year.

Lilly's top U.S. executive is on his way out. Enrique Conterno, who also heads up Lilly's global diabetes business, will step down at year's end.

GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim are facing lawsuit claims that they failed to test for possible carcinogens in Zantac.