Revlimid

Company: Celgene ($CELG), Pharmstandard
2013 Global Sales: $1.09 billion
Indications: Multiple myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma

Revlimid, first approved in the U.S. in 2006, is still putting up the kind of growth numbers that make CEOs smile. Last July, Celgene chief Bob Hugin actually predicted the company would double sales to $12 billion by 2017, partly because of Revlimid's major strides. At that point, the drug had just put up a 13% sales increase for the second quarter, tallying $1.05 billion. The next quarter's haul, a 12% jump to $1.09 billion, led the company to raise its 2013 earnings forecast for the third time.

Efforts to expand Revlimid's uses have had mixed results, however. Last summer, Celgene said it had stopped a trial of the drug as a first-line treatment for elderly patients with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) after witnessing nearly twice as many deaths in Revlimid patients as in control patients. But earlier in the year, Revlimid won approval to treat the rare blood cancer mantle-cell lymphoma, a use expected to pad sales by up to $200 million. It also released late-stage data showing Revlimid improved survival in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma.

Revlimid has also run into trouble with the U.K.'s cost-effectiveness gatekeeper, which last year turned down the drug for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes on the grounds that results didn't justify the cost for patients with the bone marrow disorder. More recently, NICE withheld its blessing for Revlimid's use in certain patients whose multiple myeloma relapsed after treatment with Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Velcade. -- Carly Helfand (email | Twitter)

For more:
Special Report: Top 20 orphan drugs by 2018 - Revlimid | 2013's 25 most influential people in biopharma - Bob Hugin
Celgene's superstar Revlimid again dissed by U.K. cost watchdog
Celgene raises earnings forecast third time
Celgene powers on toward aggressive 2017 goal

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