Zytiga (abiraterone acetate)
Johnson & Johnson
Launch Date: April 2011
First-Year Sales: $301 million (2011)
First-Half 2013 Sales: $739 million
Analyst Estimate for 2018: $2.3 billion (Wells Fargo)
Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Zytiga has been a market-changer. It works by interfering with testosterone, a prostate cancer cell stimulant. Its survival stats are about the same as those of competitor Provenge from Dendreon ($DNDN), but it is an oral medication, not injected like Provenge, and eases cancer-related pain faster. Its April 2011 FDA approval for use in patients who've received chemotherapy came two months ahead of schedule, indicating that the FDA wanted it on the market as quickly as possible.
And it has produced stunning sales. Its $961 million in sales in 2012, its first full year on the market, fell just short of blockbuster status. It was projected to hit peak sales of $1.8 billion by 2015. But then the FDA approved it as first-line treatment last December, after data showed it could add 5 months to the median survival period. Ka-ching. It has sold $739 million in the first half of 2013.
But Zytiga's special status in the market was short-lived. The FDA's approval last year of Xtandi, also a pill that affects testosterone--albeit in a different way--has set the two up for a market slugfest. Some analysts have the drug from Medivation ($MDVN) and Astellas Pharma eventually eclipsing Zytiga in sales, in a market projected to double to $9.1 billion in 2021. And facing them both is the fact that there are other prostate cancer drugs in development that could disrupt the market again.
J&J's Zytiga gets expanded approval that could double sales
J&J's Zytiga gets early challenge from Medivation's new pill
New discount persuades NICE to bless J&J's Zytiga
Zytiga data presents new threat to Provenge
-- Eric Palmer (email | Twitter)