FDA approvals of 2011

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By Liz Jones Hollis and Jennifer Levin

Welcome to our annual look back at FDA approvals. 2011 was a big year for drugmakers seeking to get their innovative products approved, as the FDA was busy. In fact, the agency approved 35 new drugs last year (a 7-year high). Among the lucky bunch who got an FDA nod were Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), both of which snagged three approvals each.

The FDA itself has been quick to point to its record of success in 2011, highlighting its sign-off on such novel treatments as Seattle Genetics' ($SGEN) new lymphoma drug Adcetris.

But will the numbers hold up this year? Drugmakers are facing increasing competition from their generic foes, and, after a period of unproductive R&D, the number of approvals could drop in coming years. Still, as we have discussed in our "15 top blockbuster contenders" report, the biopharma industry still has what it takes to develop innovative products.