Biotech drugs to dominate 2014 blockbuster league table
* Led by Avastin, Humira, Rituxan, Enbrel, Lantus, Herceptin
* Biotech to account for 50 pct of top 100 drugs - Evaluate
LONDON (Reuters) - The world's six biggest-selling drugs in 2014 will all be biotech products, underlining the importance of the sector for the global pharmaceuticals industry, according to an analysis published on Wednesday.
Evaluate Pharma, which pools consensus sales forecasts from industry estimates, said Roche's Avastin would be the biggest single seller with 2014 revenues of $9.23 billion, despite some recent setbacks in clinical trials.
The next five positions will go to Abbott Laboratories's Humira, Roche's Rituxan, Wyeth and Amgen's Enbrel, Sanofi-Aventis's Lantus and Roche's Herceptin.
With Schering-Plough and Johnson & Johnson's Remicade taking 9th position, a total of seven of the top 10 drugs in 2014 are forecast to be biotech in origin, compared to five in 2008 and just one in 2000.
Taking a wider perspective, biotech drugs will account for 50 percent of the top 100 drugs in 2014.
Big drug companies have all been chasing biotech assets in recent years in recognition of the growing importance of these complex large-molecule medicines, which must be injected, in the treatment of cancer and other diseases.
Anti-cancer antibodies, in particular, look set to become the most valuable therapeutic class of drug, justifying a large proportion of Roche's recent move to acquire its U.S. biotech affiliate Genentech outright.
Significantly, the top-selling medicine in five years time will still sell less than today's market leader, Pfizer's Lipitor, which rakes in more than $12 billion a year but is set to lose patent protection in 2011.
A looming "cliff" of similar patent expiries on other conventional, or small-molecule, drugs has underscored the move by leading drugmakers to increase their exposure to biotech.