BIO2015: Report Predicts GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Sanofi and Pfizer Will Be Neck and Neck in Vaccines Race by 2020

Published: Jun 19, 2015

BIO2015: Report Predicts GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Sanofi and Pfizer Will Be Neck and Neck in Vaccines Race by 2020
June 19, 2015
By Mark Terry and Riley McDermid, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

EvaluatePharma (EP) recently published its World Preview 2015 report, which evaluated four pharmaceuticals at the top of the vaccines market, announcing the news at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) International conference in Philadelphia this week.

It found that Merck & Co. , GlaxoSmithKline , Sanofi SA (SNY) and Pfizer Inc. . The company also estimated that the world prescription drug market will hit almost $1 trillion by 2020.

“The key finding is a good news story, the industry is predicted to have very robust industry growth to 2020, growth around 5 percent per year and predicting sales of around $1 trillion, just under $1 trillion,” said Anthony Raeside, head of research at EvaluatePharma in an interview at BIO 2015 with Mike Huckman, chief communication specialist with Pure Communications.

“It’s really supported by less patent exposure than has historically happened, plus there’s been a wave of new products hitting the market that basically are fueling sales, especially in the U.S. market. Also we’re finding an improving research and development picture.”

The report predicts the four companies will fairly evenly dominate the vaccines market by 2020, with each company having about 21 percent of the market. Vaccine sales are projected to range about $7.25 to $7.49 billion.

Merck will lead. Its 2014 vaccine sales were about $5.3 billion, and EP projects that to rise to about $7.49 billion by 2020. GSK, with 2014 sales of $4.99 billion in the vaccine market is predicted to rise to $7.44 billion by 2020.

Ranked third, Sanofi , with 2014 vaccines sales of $4 billion, are predicted to rise to $7.34 billion. Finally, Pfizer, with $7.25 billion in sales in 2014, is projected to improve to $7.25 billion in 2020.

In addition, the EP study noted that Humira, for hepatitis C, was the top-selling drug in 2014, with $13 billion in sales. Sovaldi, also for hepatitis C, sold $10 billion.

Harvoni and Sovaldi, manufactured by Foster City, Calif.-based Gilead Sciences, Inc. , are involved in a pricing and distribution war with Chicago-based AbbVie . AbbVie’s competitive product is Viekira Pak. In January 2015 Gilead announced that it had signed an exclusive rights deal with CVS Health Corp. to exclusively sell Harvoni and Solvadi. Late in 2014, Express Scripts Inc., the largest pharmacy benefit manager in the U.S., announced an exclusive agreement with AbbVie for Viekira Pak.

The EP study also reported that a record number of new drugs were approved in 2014 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which have a potential sales increase of 45 percent.

In the anti-rheumatic market, AbbVie’s Humira is still responsible for 25 percent of that market.

“There’s a background of cost-containment around research and development spend,” said Raeside. “We’re finding that companies on a whole are holding back on research and development spend, they’re focusing more on smaller patient population sizes, which cost less.”

EvaluatePharma said although its prediction for global drug costs is lower than it initially had projected, the gap can be explained by a weaker euro, not less demand.

“This is $30 billion lower than the one trillion dollars predicted in last year’s edition of the World Preview; however, it finds that the market for prescription drugs, based it can largely be explained by the depreciation of the euro against the dollar,” said the company.

The ongoing issue of medications that will be coming off patent also remains an issue for the industry, said the company, which estimates that between 2015 and 2020, a total of $197 billion in sales are at risk from patent expiries.

“But the market currently predicts only $99 billion of this will materialize. In contrast, between 2009 and 2014, $120 billion of sales were lost,” said the report. “The reduction in expected sales lost over the next six years is largely due to softer post-patent sales erosion of biological products.”


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