31. Pifeltro


Active ingredient: doravirine  
Disease: HIV-1  
Peak sales estimate: $500 million  
Approved: Aug. 30  
Company: Merck  

The scoop: As a battle between leading HIV players GlaxoSmithKline and Gilead Sciences unfolds, Merck won a late-summer approval for new drugs Pifeltro and Delstrigo for adult patients with HIV-1 who haven’t had prior antiretroviral treatments. Pifeltro contains the new molecular entity doravirine and won approval to treat HIV in combo with other antiretroviral drugs. Delstrigo is a combo of doravirine plus older HIV drugs from Glaxo’s ViiV Healthcare and Gilead. Speaking on a conference call near the time of the approval, Merck's president of global human health Adam Schechter said doravirine is a “near-term way for us to continue to be relevant in the market but a real growth opportunity as we bridge into the future with our pipeline.” Analysts have projected peak sales of $500 million for the drugs. — Eric Sagonowsky

31. Pifeltro

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