Trilipix, AbbVie

Trilipix (fenofibric acid)
Global Sales 2012:
$1.098 billion
U.S. Sales 2012: $1.098 billion
Expiration Date: January 2014, but generics launched July 2013

Spun off from Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) as 2013 dawned, AbbVie ($ABBV) depends heavily on one megablockbuster drug. It's not Trilipix but Humira, the anti-inflammatory treatment that brought in a whopping $9.3 billion last year. But as that drug nears the end of its patent life and AbbVie casts about for ways to fill in the gap, Humira's supporting cast is important, too. AbbVie thought Trilipix--the still-on-patent, long-acting follow-up to big-selling TriCor--would be part of that cast till January 2014. Sure, Trilipix and TriCor were losing sales even before generic competition hit because of studies questioning whether they actually helped lower patients' risk for heart attack or stroke. But the drugs still brought in more than $1 billion last year.

Generics companies had different ideas about Trilipix, however. Abbott's previous settlement with Par Pharmaceutical and Mylan ($MYL) provided for a launch as the patent expired in January 2014, or before that date under certain undisclosed conditions. And that's what happened in July 2013. Par and Mylan each rolled out versions of the drug, designed to lower triglycerides and boost the "good" cholesterol, HDL. By April of this year, AbbVie had announced it would lay off hundreds of sales reps charged with promoting its cardiovascular drugs, namely Trilipix and TriCor. And for the first half of 2013, sales of the two drugs had dropped by 58% to just $235 million.

For more:
Special Report: 10 Largest U.S. Patent Losses of 2012 - TriCor
AbbVie to hack hundreds of reps from cardiovascular sales ranks
FDA: Trilipix may not cut patients' heart risks
FDA panel favors Trilipix combo, but asks for trial
Should FDA change its rules to prevent another TriCor?
Krumholz questions Abbott blood-lipid drugs TriCor, Trilipix

-- Tracy Staton (email | Twitter)

Trilipix, AbbVie