14. Epclusa


Active ingredient: sofosbuvir/velpatasvir
Disease: hepatitis C
Peak sales estimate: $10.3 billion
Approved: June 28
Company: Gilead

The Scoop: One med to treat them all—Gilead’s new combo drug Epclusa is the first to treat all six genotypes of hepatitis C. Patients with HCV genotypes 2 and 3 previously had to undergo more complex treatments. Merck’s Zepatier, one of Epclusa’s competitors, for example, is only intended for genotypes 1 and 4. Surprisingly—and probably because of the constant pressure the U.K.-based pharma has been facing over its HCV drugs’ price tags—the drug is listed at $74,760 for a standard 12-week regimen, about $20,000 less than the company’s other HCV blockbuster Harvoni. However, Gilead’s success might turn out to be its own pitfall, as an analyst projected a steady patient volume decline of 15% per year for the entire HCV market. In fact, the U.S. sales for Gilead’s hep C drugs in the third quarter dropped a dramatic 37% year over year to just $2 billion. Patent lawsuits against Merck and more recently the University of Minnesota, plus an FDA black-box warning on a group of direct-acting antivirals that include all HCV major players just fuel uncertainty to the future of Epclusa as well as the overall market. -- Angus Liu

14. Epclusa

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