Which of These 10 Best Selling Cancer Drugs Are Here to Stay?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

If you look at the pharmaceutical industry’s most promising investigational drugs (which you can do right here), cancer therapies comprise the vast majority of the industry’s recent innovations; a fact which is increasingly important given that most industry experts acknowledge that the industry’s research and development train is slowing down. Blockbuster drugs are becoming harder and harder to come by, and analysts are constantly pointing to the looming threat of patent expirations.

Further, for many companies, there are no new drugs to replace aging top sellers. As a result, it seems as though companies are fractioning into those that actually and actively invest in research, and those which essentially “collect” smaller companies’ treatments, such as Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl. Inc. (NYSE:VRX). “Industry R&D productivity has been very, very low, so how all companies grow in this industry is through making really good acquisitions,” Valeant’s CEO J. Michael Pearson told The New York Times earlier last week.

Oncology, though, is one arena in which there is plenty of work to be done where research is booming — and profitable. Cancer therapies have changed a lot in the past decade, and the past few years have seen yet another shift as immunotherapies and targeted drugs become more and more common, replacing older, broader-spectrum chemotherapies. That being said, there are quite a few aging blockbusters that are still steadily delivering sales growth after more than a decade. We’ll outline the top 10 best selling cancer drugs of 2013, and predict which we think will hold over, and which are due to be ousted by more recent innovations.

It’s worth noting that the top three best selling cancer drugs in 2013 were developed by Roche Holding Ltd. and its biotech subsidiary, Genentech; the company remains the biggest player in the oncology arena, drawing in sales of $31.3 billion from its cancer-fighting medicines alone. Right behind Roche is Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS), a company which CEO Joseph Jimenez says is “doubling down” on the cancer business, according to Forbes. The company recently bought GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s (NYSE:GSK) cancer business in the midst of a flurry of pharmaceutical mergers, which happened earlier this spring.

While Novartis may give Roche a run for its money, FirstWord Pharma notes that the company’s domination of the cancer market is still likely to continue into 2018, with newer therapies such as Perjeta, Kadcyla, and Gazvya replacing older medicines, all of which are likely to do well by the drugmaker, particularly Kadcyla, which costs an astounding $94,000 for a standard course of treatment.