Analysts rank the top 10 blockbuster duds in biopharma

Let's face it: When it comes to new drug approvals, projected blockbuster revenue is one of the sexiest aspects of the story. So when Biogen Idec's ($BIIB) new Tecfidera was approved for multiple sclerosis, the main competition was seen in bidding up what the drug is likely to bring in for the Boston-based biotech. And the numbers soared to full mega-blockbuster status.

Whether Biogen Idec hits that ambitious mark won't be known for some time to come. However, if past performance is any indication of future behavior, it's not a foregone conclusion. EP Vantage took a look at the numbers and came up with the top 10 blockbuster busts--new drugs which in the last 5 years were expected to rake in a fortune only to fall far, far too short. Here's the list, based on original projections versus current forecasts or actual revenue:

  • Pfizer's ($PFE) Relistor (inherited in the Wyeth buyout), expected to bring in $865 million this year. The current score: $37 million.
  • InterMune's ($ITMN) Esbriet, targeted at $917 million, came in at $132 million.
  • Incivek from Vertex ($VRTX), once forecast to rake in $4.05 billion by 2016, is already trailing down with a $669 million peak.
  • Vascepa's $2 billion forecast has dwindled to $505 million.
  • Benlysta was started out at $2.8 billion, but slid down to $698 million.
  • Expected to hit $2.53 billion in 2016, alogliptin has slumped to $788 million.
  • AstraZeneca's ($AZN) Brilinta, forecast at $2.52 billion, is down to $865 million.
  • Bydureon, which started out at $1.66 billion, is down to $615 million.
  • Qysmia, supposedly on track to $1.13 billion, now stands at $437 million.
  • Actemra, which was supposed to hit $2.25 billion last year, posted $898 million.

So the next time you see a forecast on blockbuster peak sales, whether in FierceBiotech or any other source like Bloomberg or Reuters or The Wall Street Journal, keep in mind that the analysts' crystal balls don't always work as they would have you believe.

- here's the report from Evaluate

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