by John Carroll and Ryan McBride
Divining the future sales for any drug in development requires some finesse. You first must see how the experimental therapy shapes up against the current slate of marketed drugs, then add in what the competition is likely to do as they pursue their own approvals.
Looking over our slate of 15 of the biggest blockbusters now in late-stage development, it's clear the big developers are often attracted to the same megablockbuster markets. Two big cholesterol drugs are in the works, and Alzheimer's is huge. Meanwhile, looking for the newest cardiovascular disease treatment--as well as finding a better blood thinner than warfarin--has proven a tremendous magnet for Big Pharma as well as biotech.
It would be nice if all of these drugs will do exactly what the companies and analysts hope for, but a late-stage drug's prospects for success are about 50/50. Even if they win approval, there's no guarantee the treatments will live up to expectations.
But the enormous risks and potential rewards are what make drug development such an exciting field. The blockbuster is far from dead, and these 15 programs represent what biopharma can still do when it thinks big.