R&D

The world’s top 10 blockbusters — and what they tell us about R&D trends

In biopharma, the big R&D quest these days is building new blockbusters. And this list of the top 10 blockbusters drawn together for Nature Reviews Drug Discovery by EvaluatePharma illustrates why.

I’ll note here that this list isn’t quite accurate. You should probably call it the top 10 blockbusters sold by 1 company, as it overlooks partnered drugs. So Enbrel, with $7.1 billion from Amgen and Pfizer, doesn’t make the cut — though it should. There are others as well. But it still makes for an interesting review, especially if you want to look at the way these numbers are influencing R&D plans.

Most of these drugs got onto this list and stayed there by following a tried and true path to blockbuster creation: pushing annual price hikes that were gradually worth billions in new revenue. Just look at the top 2 cash cows, Humira and Revlimid, with close to $30 billion in combined sales. Europe blocked the price hike path years ago, and now the US is struggling to catch up but has clearly made an impression on the big players — watch out for those across-the-board price increases as you look to maximize your oil well, er, drug franchise, before time runs out.


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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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