The drug: Humalog
Generic: Insulin lispro
The company: Eli Lilly ($LLY)
Patent expiration date: May 7, 2013
Estimated Global Sales 2012: $2.52 billion
The scoop: Sales of Humalog slipped in the third quarter, alarming analysts who had expected its numbers to stay strong through the year. The problem: Third party payers are demanding discounts, and new diabetes drugs like Tradjenta are eating into market share as physicians try new strategies to control blood sugar ahead of insulins. With Humalog's patent expiration on the horizon, though, it's clear that Lilly has to make some impressive gains in the clinic with new drugs to replace its fading blockbusters. And the pharma giant has been reporting progress on the diabetes front. The GLP-1 analog dulaglutide has scored positive data in a slate of Phase III studies. Lilly has four diabetes drugs in the late-stage pipeline, an important effort to regain the lead in a huge drug market now dominated by Sanofi ($SNY) and Novo Nordisk ($NVO). It's not an easy field. Regulators demand clear safety data on these drugs. But winners can gain megablockbuster status as this market grows by leaps and bounds around the world.
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