Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are beefing up their R&D spending after remaining stable during 2011 and 2012. EvaluatePharma, a pharma and biotech research firm, estimates R&D expenditures will top $136 billion in 2013, up from $134 billion the previous year. R&D investments are on track to exceed $149 billion by 2018, according to the analysts.
Who are the big investors in new medicine development?
- Novartis is predicted to spend the most $10.1 billion - on R&D by 2018.
- Roche is expected to spend $8.7 billion.
- Merck & Co., $7.6 billion.
- GlaxoSmithKline, $7.2 billion
- Pfizer, $6.7 billion
- Sanofi, $6.7 billion
- Johnson & Johnson, $5.9 billion
- Eli Lily, $4.7 billion
- Bristol-Meyers Squib, $4.2 billion
- AstraZeneca, $4.1 billion
Analysts predict NovoNordisk will have the fastest growth in R&D spending, from $1.8 billion in 2011 to $3.1 billion in 2018, an 8 percent increase.
Several major pharmas are expected to spend less on R&D over the next six years, including Pfizer, Merck & Co, AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly.
Which Are the Most Promising New Drugs in the Pipeline?
Investors and analysts study new drugs in the pipeline and following their clinical trial data. Here are projections for some of the most closely followed products either in phase 3 trials or which have filed applications for approval.
- GS-7977, a Hepatitis C polymerase inhibitor developed by Gilead Sciences is considered one of the most valuable drugs in development. Analysts are already predicting global sales could reach $5.4 billion by 2018.
- BG-12, (dimethyl fumarate), developed by Biogen Idec as a treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), is forecast to reach $3.4 billion in sales by 2018.
- RG1273 (pertuzumab), an Anti-HER2 Mab for breast cancer, developed by Roche, up to $2.5 billion.
- Quad, a combination of elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate for HIV-1, by Gilead Sciences, $2.8 billion.
- Tofacitinib, branded as Xeljanz, a JAK-3 inhibitor for rheumatoid arthritis developed by Pfizer , $1.7 billion. Xeljanz is the first FDA-approved oral biologic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
- Trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1), an Anti-HER2 MAb-DM1 conjugate for breast cancer, Roche, $1.1 billion projected.
- Tresiba, a long-acting insulin by Novo Nordisk, $1 billion. Tresiba received regulatory approval in Europe but the FDA has requested more safety data.
- Bexsero, Meningococcal B vaccine from Novartis, $1 billion. The vaccine received approval from the European Commission on Jan. 22, 2013.
- Vascepa, an Omega-3 fatty acid for hypertriglyceridemia, by Amarin received FDA approval in July 2012. Projected sales could reach $510 million.
Altogether, the top 20 new drugs in the final stages of development or waiting approval are predicted to have sales of $28 billion by 2018, according to EvaluatePharma.
In terms of investment as a percentage of prescription sales, pharmas will invest from 11.9 percent (Gilead Sciences) to $21.9 percent (Johnson & Johnson).
Oncology is expected to remain the largest segment of pharmaceutical sales into 2018 while anti-coagulants are expected to have the fastest growth in sales, a 10.9 percent increase between 2011 and 2018.
The growing therapeutic areas of the future will be anti-rheumatics, vaccines, antivirals, dermatologicals and drugs for sensory organs. Declining sales are predicted for anti-hyperlipidaemics (drugs for lowering cholesterol) , anti-hypertensives (medications used to treat high blood pressure) and bronchodilators (for COPD and other lung disorders).