FirstWord Lists: Johnson & Johnson tops Big Pharma's 2013 freshness index

Based on performance in 2013 to date, Johnson & Johnson leads the 'freshness' index among the industry's largest players. The US company has generated almost a quarter of its prescription pharmaceutical sales during the first nine months of 2013 from innovative new products approved since 2010.

Its prostate cancer drug Zytiga has generated sales of $1.2 billion year-to-date, with impressive performances also delivered by Stelara, Invega Sustenna, Simponi and Xarelto.

Encouragingly for the company, it is yet to report sales for its diabetes treatment Invokana, although prescription data (and a marked increase in consensus forecasts) indicate a strong launch for this therapy - see In Focus: How Johnson & Johnson's Invokana has delivered a surprise shake up to the diabetes market.

Novartis has also generated considerable sales in 2013 from products launched over the past four years; valued at $4.5 billion for the year-to-date and equal to 17.8 percent of the company's branded pharma sales (includes vaccines).

Its oral multiple sclerosis treatment Gilenya has generated sales of $1.4 billion during the first nine-months of 2013. With full-year sales set to breach the $2 billion threshold, Gilenya is one of the industry's most prominent new launches. However, like Johnson & Johnson, Novartis' success in terms of maintaining a 'fresh' portfolio has been underscored by multiple new product launches, which also include Afinitor, Tasigna and Galvus.

Novo Nordisk (13.6 percent), Bayer (12.1 percent) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (11.4 percent) have all generated double-digit proportions of their prescription pharma sales year-to-date from products launched since 2010.

Bayer's success has been driven in particular by its anticoagulant Xarelto (co-marketed with Johnson & Johnson) but also Eylea, which is co-marketed with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The recent approval of Xofigo for prostate cancer adds another potential growth driver to its portfolio - see ViewPoints: Agree to disagree – Bristol-Myers Squibb plays down once-daily dosing of Bayer's Xarelto as Eliquis continues to slow burn.

The melanoma therapy Yervoy was Bristol-Myers Squibb's biggest selling 'new launch' product during the first nine months of 2013, but growth has also been stimulated by its diabetes portfolio (Onglyza and Byetta/Bydureon) and to a lesser extent Eliquis, which has so far failed to meet pre-launch expectations.

Novo Nordisk's high positioning on the 'freshness' index is attributable solely to its diabetes treatment Victoza, which dominates the GLP-1 agonist class. Novo Nordisk is somewhat less dependent on new product launches given its strong position in the insulin market, however, where the threat of typical generic erosion is extremely limited.

Roche too can be forgiven for generating only 5.2 percent of its 2013 sales to date from post-2010 launches, given the entrenchment of its biologic Rituxan, Avastin and Herceptin cancer franchises.

Furthermore, the Swiss company is looking to head-off any biosimilar threat to sales of these products by launching new treatments that enhance the standard of care. Continued strong uptake of Perjeta and Kadcyla in breast cancer, and the launch of Gazyva in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, should see Roche's freshness rating grow over the next few years - see ViewPoints: Roche ticks another box in biosimilar defence/cancer domination strategy as FDA approves 'son of Rituxan' Gazyva.

GlaxoSmithKline also – positioned second to bottom – should see its ranking grow given that the UK drugmaker has delivered more new product approvals than its peers in 2013. How quickly it can grow its proportion of 'new revenues' will depend heavily on the commercial performance of the respiratory franchises Breo Ellipta and Anoro Ellipta in particular - see ViewPoints: GlaxoSmithKline's Advair defence strategy begins to emerge and ViewPoints: Witty paints rosy picture for GlaxoSmithKline's respiratory franchise.

AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck & Co., Sanofi and Eli Lilly all generated less than $1 billion in sales during the first nine months of 2013 from products launched since 2010. Each company is facing their own pressure in how best to rectify recent R&D productivity trends and grow this proportion of their revenue - see Spotlight On: Scrutiny increases on Merck & Co.'s R&D capabilities as company receives three analyst downgrades and ViewPoints: Will pipeline setbacks cause "savage cost cutting" at Eli Lilly?

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