Not all drugs are equal.
While most pharmaceutical companies talk about their pipeline programs. Some drugs alone could be pharmaceutical/biotech and still have a robust pipeline.
These drugs are usually targeting systemic pathways, enabling their use across multiple disease indications and in the process creating a pipeline for themselves.
Here are 5 examples:
1) Keytruda — Merck (MRK)
Keytruda is a PD1-blocking antibody that is approved for the treatment of 19 different cancer.
Additionally, there are numerous other trials ongoing that could further expand this list. Merck has been very savvy with Keytruda, they have collaborated widely with biotechs interested in developing combo therapeutics with Keytruda. This strategy will allow Merck to aggressively expand the use cases of the drug.
Keytruda is set to become the top drug in terms of sales in the next few years.
2) Opdivo — Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS)
Like Keytruda, Opdivo is a PD1-blocking antibody approved for 11 indications.
It also has numerous other ongoing trials, as a monotherapy or in combo with other BMS drugs. If these trials are successful, Opdivo's approved indication can continue to grow at a fast clip.
While not as successful as its competitor, Opdivo’s 2021 sales came in at $7.5B.
3) Humira — Abbvie (ABBV)
A TNF blocker is approved for 8 different indications.
Humira is one of the best-selling drugs of all time. In 2021, it brought in close to $21B in revenue for Abbvie (ABBV).
With its patent set to expire soon, expect generics to enter the market. The huge success of Humira is evident from the fact that 7 humira generics are waiting to enter the market.
But over the last 20 years, this drug has been its ‘own’ pipeline
4) Dupixent — Regeneron (REGN), Sanofi (SNY)
Dupixent is an anti-IL4aR monoclonal antibody that works by blocking IL4 & IL13 binding to its receptor. The IL4/IL13 pathway contributes to the peripheral aspects of allergic immunity.
Dupixent is approved for 5 different inflammatory indications. And there are multiple ongoing clinical trials for this drug which will further expand its indication list.
Dupixent has seen strong growth since its approval in 2017. In 2021, the drug did EUR5.9B in sales. Sanofi announced that it estimates peak sales at EUR13B, indicating the long runway ahead.
5) Eylea — Regeneron (REGN), Bayer (BAYRY)
A VEGF inhibitor Eylea is approved for 4 eye indications.
Apart from the 4 approved indications, the drug has 2 ongoing phase 3 trials.
Since its approval in 2011, Eylea has seen strong growth. In 2021, it recorded sales of $9.2B.
While this drug is its ‘own’ pipeline, one limitation is that it is restricted to the eye. Which reduces its potential indications.
Some background on Eylea - it was initially developed as a cancer therapeutic but showed limited efficacy, the drug was then pivoted by Regeneron & Bayer to target wet AMD (wAMD) which is where it found success.
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Disclaimer: All opinions shared in this article are the opinions of the authors and do not constitute financial advice or recommendations to buy or sell. Please consult a financial advisor before you make any financial decisions. The authors do not hold positions in any of the mentioned securities.