Novartis biosimilars point to a blockbuster future

Anyone looking for some clear signs of how the biosimilar market is likely to develop should check out Ben Hirschler's take at Reuters. He looks at some of the amazing revenue numbers being posted by Novartis, which saw sales of its biosimilar of Lovenox soar in the third quarter. Enoxaparin revenue hit $292 million, putting it right on track to break the blockbuster barrier of more than a billion dollars a year. And signs of rapid uptake among physicians indicate that this is one arena where Big Pharma will make out in a big way.

"The train has left the terminal and it's travelling in one direction," Evolution Securities' Dominic Valder tells Reuters. The generic drug arm of Novartis also has three other biosimilars that are doing well.

Hirschler points out that for now approved biosimilars are following the trail of a relatively simple set of biologics, like human growth hormones and Amgen's anemia therapies. But Pfizer's new pact with Biocon on biosimilar insulin products will help drive development of far more complex biologics, including the first round of biosimilar antibodies around 2014 and 2015.

As FierceBiotech has noted before, though, the new biosimilar deals are being driven by Big Pharma companies looking to garner significant revenue from this new generation of generics. Smaller players will find this a very tough game to play.

- here's the story from Reuters