Here is an update on Oncology Pipelines courtesy of Linda Pullan (, a consultant who follows the sector.

Pfizer (PFE), Roche (RHHBY) and Novartis (NVS) are predicted to launch the most drugs.

Some Pharma Companies Need to In-License in Oncology Now

by Linda Pullan___________________________________________

Pharma and Biotech companies that can’t replace or outpace current oncology sales from drugs in their internal pipeline are more likely than their counterparts to be active in partnering. Some companies (like Celgene and Roche) will have their work cut out for them, especially considering the dual specters of generic competition and biosimilars, to grow or even maintain current sales in oncology, while others (Pfizer and Merck) are well-positioned to enjoy organic growth in the mid- to long-term.

Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Roche have big oncology pipelines.

Company               # of Cancer Compounds in Pipeline

Phase 1        Phase 2        Phase 3        Total #

Pfizer               21                     16                     7                      44

Roche               20                    11                     8                      39

Novartis           6                      13                     8                      27

Eli Lilly             16                     10                     4                      30

AstraZeneca    11                     15                     3                      29

BMS                 8                      14                     4                      26

GSK                  15                     9                      3                      27

Merck              15                     11                     2                      28

Takeda             6                      9                      5                      20

Merck KGaA     7                      8                      4                      19

Bayer               9                      11                     2                      22

Sanofi              7                      2                      6                      15

J&J                 6                      5                      3                      14

Amgen              5                      8                      2                      15

Genzyme           2                      1                       3                      6

Daiichi Sankyo 2                      5                      1                       8

Celgene            3                      1                       0                      4

Source:  PharmaProjects

Pfizer, Roche and Novartis predicted to launch the most drugs.

Based on the probability of success for oncology compounds at each stage of development (from Recap’s October 2009 webinar), Pfizer should get about 11 compounds to market from its current cancer clinical pipeline.   The number of compounds predicted to launch from the current pipeline is the sum of the number of compounds in each phase of development multiplied by its probability of launch.  For example, Takeda’s expected productivity of 5.6 compounds is calculated as: 6 compounds in Phase 1*16% chance of launch + 9 in Phase 2*22% chance of launch +5 in Phase 3 *54% chance of launch. Roche should get about 10, Novartis 8, and Lilly and AstraZeneca each about 7 drugs to market from its existing cancer clinical development pipeline.  It would appear all the companies must in-license or do acquisitions to sustain their cancer pipelines and Pfizer must make up the largest absolute gap in number of compounds.

Pfizer will be a growing force in oncology.

If each of the predicted 11 compounds from Pfizer were to achieve a $500M in sales, the oncology sales would be $5.5B, a substantial gain from the $1.5B reported in its annual report in 2009 for oncology sales.

Merck could rise in importance in oncology.

Temodar was Merck’s leading oncology product with sales of $278M in the 3rd quarter of 2009.  With 5.9 compounds predicted to launch from the pipeline, at a hypothetical $500M each in sales, Merck could have $2.9B in cancer sales.

Amgen, Daiichi Sankyo, GSK, and Genzyme are also likely to grow their cancer sales, as they need relatively low sales volume (all less than $150 million) per compound predicted to launch from the current clinical development pipelines.  (Note:  Amgen’s large supportive care pipeline was not counted as contributing to current cancer therapeutic sales).

Roche has a high value pipeline to replace.

Roche had cancer sales of $23B in 2009 (53% of total sales).  For its 10 compounds predicted to launch to make up that sales volume means each must achieve $2.3B, a challenging task to do on average, although Roche has done it with Avastin, Rituxan and Herceptin.

Celgene needs to partner.

But Celgene, with 4 cancer drugs in clinical development, predicted to result in 0.7 launches, would need $3.5 billion in sales for each of those 0.7 launches to replace its current sales of $2.6 billion (2009).  These simple calculations don’t reflect the projected growth for Celgene’s existing products nor incorporate any appraisal of the sales potential of individual compounds, but the needed sales seem challenging even for Revlimid.  Celgene has hired an experience VP of BD from Novartis Oncology, George Golumbeski.  They have $2.9 billion in cash.  And in 2010, they did a big option deal for the cancer metabolism pipeline of Agios and in 2009, Celgene acquired Gloucester Pharmaceutical with its FDA approved HDAC inhibitor.  Watch for Celgene to continue to do deals.

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