Alex Philippidis Senior News Editor Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

15% Year-Over-Year Growth, with Sales Set to More than Double by 2022

While cancers are among the deadliest of diseases, only one category ranks within the World Health Organization’s list of Top 10 Causes of Death—lung cancers, which ranked number five, accounting for 1.59 million deaths in 2015. (Heart disease topped the list with 8.76 million deaths.)

Yet, cancer represents the largest therapeutic area based on sales, racking up $93.7 billion worldwide in 2016, according to EvaluatePharma—which has projected a more than doubling of oncology therapy sales by 2022, to $192.2 billion, based on a compound annual growth rate of 12.7%. Also set to grow is the market share of cancer drugs—which is projected to expand from 11.7% in 2016 to 17.5% in 2022.

Cancer drug sales growth is expected to be driven by three treatments that are among the 10 best-selling treatments for oncology indications as measured by GEN—Merck & Co.’s Keytruda® (pembrolizumab), Celgene’s Revlimid® (lenalidomide), and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo® (nivolumab).  

Also projected to contribute to the sales growth of cancer drugs are AstraZeneca’s Imfinzi™ (durvalumab) and Incyte’s Phase III pipeline candidate epacadostat. The rise of those drugs is expected to help the segment recoup revenues set to be lost to biosimilars to two other top 10 cancer therapies, Genentech (Roche)’s Herceptin (trastuzumab) and the Genentech/Biogen drug Rituxan® (rituximab, sold in some countries as MabThera).

Below is GEN’s list of Top 10 Cancer Drugs for the first three quarters of 2017, ranked by sales as furnished by the drugs’ sponsor(s) in regulatory filings, press releases, or other public statements. Each drug is listed by brand and generic name, sponsor(s), type of drug, indications, Q1–Q3 2017 sales, Q1–Q3 2016 sales, and the difference between both years.

#10. Velcade® (bortezomib)

Sponsor(s): Johnson & Johnson and Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Type of drug: Proteasome inhibitor

Indication(s): Multiple myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma

Q1–Q3 sales 2017: $1.780 billion ($843 million J&J + ¥106.0 billion [$937 million] Takeda)

Q1-Q3 sales 2016: $1.876 billion ($950 million J&J + ¥104.8 billion [$926 million] Takeda)

% Change: -5.1%

#9. Ibrance® (palbociclib)

Sponsor(s): Pfizer

Type of drug: Kinase inhibitor

Indication(s): Hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer in combination with: an aromatase inhibitor as initial endocrine-based therapy in postmenopausal women; or fulvestrant in women with disease progression following endocrine therapy

Q1–Q3 sales 2017: $2.410 billion

Q1–Q3 sales 2016: $1.492 billion

% Change: 61.5%

#8. Keytruda® (pembrolizumab)

Sponsor(s): Merck & Co.

Type of drug: Programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1)-blocking antibody

Indication(s): Melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck squamous cell cancer, classical Hodgkin Lymphoma, urothelial carcinoma, microsatellite instability-high cancer, and gastric cancer

Q1–Q3 sales 2017: $2.512 billion

Q1–Q3 sales 2016: $919 million

% Change: 173.3%

#7. Imbruvica® (ibrutinib)

Sponsor(s): Johnson & Johnson and AbbVie (Pharmacyclics)

Type of drug: Kinase inhibitor

Indication(s): Adults with mantle cell lymphoma who have received at least one prior therapy; chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)/small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL); CLL/SLL with 17p deletion; Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia; Marginal zone lymphoma who require systemic therapy and have received at least one prior anti-CD20-based therapy; Chronic graft-versus-host disease after failure of one or more lines of systemic therapy

Q1–Q3 sales 2017: $3.236 billion ($1.371 billion J&J + $1.865 billion AbbVie [Pharmacyclics]) 1

Q1–Q3 sales 2016: $2.226 billion ($905 million J&J + $1.321 billion AbbVie [Pharmacyclics] 1

% Change: 45.4%

#6. Opdivo (nivolumab)

Sponsor(s): Bristol-Myers Squibb

Type of drug: Programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) blocking antibody

Indication(s): Melanoma, metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), advanced renal cell carcinoma, classical Hodgkin lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, urothelial carcinoma, colorectal cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma

Q1–Q3 sales 2017: $3.587 billion

Q1–Q3 sales 2016: $2.464 billion

% Change: 45.6%

#5. Neulasta/Peglasta (pegfilgrastim) and Neupogen/Gran (filgrastim)

Sponsor(s): Amgen and Kyowa Hakko Kirin2

Indication(s): Both Neulasta and Neupogen decrease the incidence of infection—as manifested by febrile neutropenia—in patients with nonmyeloid malignancies receiving myelosuppressive anticancer drugs associated with a clinically significant incidence of febrile neutropenia; and increase survival in patients acutely exposed to myelosuppressive doses of radiation (hematopoietic syndrome or acute radiation syndrome).

For Neupogen, additional indications of reducing time to neutrophil recovery and the duration of fever, following induction or consolidation chemotherapy treatment of patients with acute myeloid leukemia; reducing the duration of neutropenia and neutropenia-related clinical sequelae (e.g.‚ febrile neutropenia) in patients with nonmyeloid malignancies undergoing myeloablative chemotherapy followed by bone marrow transplantation; mobilizing autologous hematopoietic progenitor cells into the peripheral blood for collection by leukapheresis; reducing the incidence and duration of sequelae of severe neutropenia (e.g.‚ fever‚ infections‚ oropharyngeal ulcers) in symptomatic patients with congenital neutropenia‚ cyclic neutropenia‚ or idiopathic neutropenia.

Q1–Q3 sales 2017: $3.864 billion, consisting of $3.420 billion for Neulasta (Amgen), $423 million for Neupogen (Amgen), and ¥2.4 billion ($21.203 million) combined (Kyowa Hakko Kirin)

Q1–Q3 sales 2016: $4.151 billion, consisting of $3.532 billion for Neulasta (Amgen), $592 million for Neupogen (Amgen), and ¥3.1 billion ($27.388 million) combined (Kyowa Hakko Kirin)

% Change: -6.9%

#4. Avastin (bevacizumab)

Sponsor(s): Roche (Genentech)

Type of drug: Vascular endothelial growth factor–directed antibody

Indication(s): Metastatic colorectal cancer, nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer, glioblastoma, metastatic renal cell carcinoma, cervical cancer, as well as recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer

Q1–Q3 sales 2017: CHF 4.997 billion ($5.121 billion)

Q1–Q3 sales 2016: CHF 5.114 billion ($5.241 billion)

% Change: -2.3%

#3. Herceptin (trastuzumab)

Sponsor(s): Roche (Genentech)

Type of drug: HER2/neu receptor antagonist

Indication(s): HER2-overexpressing breast cancer; HER2-overexpressing metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal-junction adenocarcinoma

Q1–Q3 sales 2017: CHF 5.233 billion ($5.363 billion)

Q1–Q3 sales 2016: CHF 5.125 billion ($5.252 billion)

% Change: 2.1%

#2. Rituxan® (rituximab, MabThera)

Sponsor(s): Roche (Genentech) and Biogen

Type of drug: CD20-directed cytolytic antibody

Indication(s): Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; chronic lymphocytic leukemia; rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in combination with methotrexate in adult patients with moderately to severely active RA who have inadequate response to one or more TNF-antagonist therapies; granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) (Wegener’s granulomatosis), and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) in adults in combination with glucocorticoids

Q1–Q3 sales 2017: CHF 5.620 billion ($5.760 billion)

Q1–Q3 sales 2016: CHF 5.484 billion ($5.620 billion)

% Change: 2.5%

#1. Revlimid® (lenalidomide)

Sponsor(s): Celgene

Type of drug: Thalidomide analogue

Indication(s): Multiple myeloma, in combination with dexamethasone; multiple myeloma, as a maintenance therapy following autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; transfusion-dependent anemia due to low- or intermediate-1-risk myelodysplastic syndromes associated with a deletion 5q abnormality with or without additional cytogenetic abnormalities; mantle cell lymphoma in patients whose disease has relapsed or progressed after two prior therapies, one of which included bortezomib.

Q1–Q3 sales 2017: $5.999 billion

Q1–Q3 sales 2016: $5.166 billion

% Change: 16.1%

1. AbbVie (Pharmacyclics) figures reflect profit sharing for Imbruvica international revenues.
2. While Amgen reports separate sales figures for Neulasta and Neupogen, Kyowa Hakko Kirin reports sales under the combined listing of “Gran.” Effective January 1, 2014, Amgen acquired rights to pegfilgrastim and filgrastim from Roche. Roche had held those rights under license from Kirin-Amgen (a joint venture between Amgen and Kirin Holdings, of Japan), in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, since 1989. See Amgen announcement of October 22, 2013.  Kyowa Hakko Kirin retains rights to pegfilgrastim under the name Peglasta® in Singapore and Thailand, and under the name Neulasta® in Taiwan. Kyowa Hakko Kirin retains rights to filgrastim under the name Gran in China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Taiwan. 


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