FirstWord Lists: Top 20 oncology products in 2012 and 2018 – does Roche's dominance know no bounds?

Genentech discovered MAbs dominate the cancer landscape

The 20 leading oncology brands generated global sales just shy of $50 billion last year, with Roche’s Genentech division continuing to cast a dominant shadow over the cancer market.

The company’s key monoclonal antibody (MAb) products – Rituxan, Herceptin and Avastin – remain positioned as the industry’s three biggest selling cancer brands, generating combined sales of nearly $20 billion, or equal to 40 percent of the value of the entire top 20 list in 2012. Factoring in the Swiss company’s Xeloda and Tarceva franchises increases Roche’s share of the top 20 list to an impressive 47 percent.

The next generation arrives

Based on a consensus of equity analyst forecasts, Roche is also expected to maintain a similar proportion of revenue share across the industry’s top 20 products by 2018, despite an overall expansion in value from $48 billion to $63 billion. By comparison, sales generated by Roche products will expand to $28 billion by 2018.

Furthermore, Roche is poised to market five of the six biggest selling cancer products in 2018. The new launches of Perjeta and Kadcyla are expected to have a strong commercial impact over the next five years, while Rituxan, Herceptin and Avastin will retain their position among the oncology elite.

Sales of Rituxan and Herceptin will have declined slightly by 2018, but this will occur primarily as a result of erosion at the hands of the newer Perjeta and Kadcyla brands (in the case of Herceptin) and GA101 (in the case of Rituxan).

Based on current consensus forecasts, GA101 remains a footnote just outside the list of top 20 products in 2018 – albeit with healthy anticipated revenues of $1.5 billion. Nevertheless, as confidence increases that the product can replicate its recent positive data for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) in the larger non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) indication, revenue forecasts for the product are expected to steadily shift north.

Roche and Genentech pulled off something of a coup between 1997 and 2004, when Rituxan, Herceptin and Avastin reached the market. The company’s ability to protect and enhance these franchises via the launches of Perjeta, Kadcyla and GA101 may prove equally important. See ViewPoints: Roche's follow-on biologic strategy validated in three steps.

Immunotherapy – the new kid in town?

Sidestepping Roche’s dominance of the cancer MAb market, it is the immunotherapies, which wowed delegates at the ASCO annual meeting in June, that will likely cause the most excitement over the next five years. If these products continue to deliver data on a par with that presented to date, then consensus revenue forecasts will escalate rapidly; indeed analysts at Citi have already proclaimed the immunotherapy market to be worth a potential $35 billion a year in peak sales. In a note to investors, Citi analyst Andrew Baum suggested that immunotherapies will emerge to form the backbone of treatment for around 60 percent of cancer types over the next decade, in many cases transforming the condition into a chronic disease.

Only Bristol-Myers Squibb’s PD-1 immunotherapy currently makes the top 20 list in 2018, by virtue of analyst forecasts for these products remaining heavily risk-adjusted at this point.

Roche, unsurprisingly, has an immunotherapy product in development, but at this stage appears to be trailing both Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck & Co. Given its current dominance of the cancer landscape, the Swiss company’s progress will be keenly watched. See ViewPoints: Why it’s too early to write down Roche's chances in the cancer immunotherapy chase.

See also ViewPoints: Roche – The making of a modern pharmaceutical giant: a Franz Humer timeline.

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