One-fifth of all drug sales in 2020 could be for pricey, specialty orphan meds
- An EvaluatePharma analysis find that by 2020, 19% of all Rx drug sales—$176 billion—will be attributable to orphan drug sales, FiercePharma reports.
- The rate of growth for orphan drugs sales is predicted to be 11% per year through 2020, compared with 4% for drugs treating larger populations.
- Companies that develop orphan drugs have many advantages, including smaller trial sizes, lower development costs, and increased support form the FDA. They also benefit from lack of generic competition.
Last year, the FDA granted orphan drug designation to 260 different products-in-development. Some front-runners in the orphan drug development category include Celgene, which developed Revlimid (lenalidomide) for treatment of mantle cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma in previosly-treated patients, and rare kidney disorder drug Soliris maker Alexion, which enjoys a more than 40% profit margin.
According to the report, it seems that Bristol-Myers Squibb will become the biggest orphan drug company by 2020, with $6 billion in sales from Opdivo (nivolumab) for treatment of previously-treated multiple myeloma—assuming, of course, that the drug is approved.