Helpful regulators, blockbuster drug strategy deliver a crop of major breakthroughs

So far this year the FDA has approved 27 new drugs. And while the industry may not top last year's total, a greater focus on real medical breakthroughs--such as Biogen Idec's ($BIIB) Tecfidera--will make this year's crop far more valuable than the harvest of 2012, according to EP Vantage. The editorial arm of Evaluate Pharma concludes that the drugs already approved this year should be able to reach peak sales of $13.9 billion. And the FDA has helped accelerate approval for the most pioneering therapies in the pipeline, such as Roche's ($RHHBY) Gazyva, which was OK'd 6 weeks ahead of schedule. EP expects about 34 new approvals this year worth about $18.7 billion--up from last year's $16.4 billion. One big reason why the class of 2013 should do better than last year: A likely approval of Gilead's ($GILD) sofosbuvir for hepatitis C would open the door to one of the biggest blockbusters to hit the market. More

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