What’s behind Humira’s bullish forecast?
A report predicting that Humira will become the world’s biggest product in two years’ time generated positive news for the Abbott Labs/Eisai arthritis drug. Several factors are driving the bullish forecast.
While growth is by no means a given, analysts are actually optimistic about the entire class of biologics called TNF inhibitors, which are often used to treat rheumatic diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and ulcerative colitis. According to the forecast, by EvaluatePharma, Humira will become the top-selling anti-TNF—and the world’s biggest product—in 2012 with global sales of $8.3 billion and will retain its top spot until 2016, when sales could exceed $10 billion. Anti-TNF drugs from Pfizer/Amgen (Enbrel) and Johnson & Johnson/Merck (Remicade) will reach the no. 3 and no. 7 spots on the top-10 list, the forecast noted.
Jeffrey Stewart, who heads up Abbott’s US Humira business, summed up the reasons why analysts are keen on these drugs. “The unmet need is great, the therapeutic gain and net value is very significant vs. the standard of care, and a significant number of patients [for whom anti-TNF drugs are indicated] still have not been put on these medications,” said Stewart, who is divisional VP for immunology, in Abbott’s pharmaceutical products division.
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