Company news: EvaluatePharma and Citeline

Years after generic competition begins eroding Lipitor revenues (and RA biologic Humira overtakes it as the world's biggest selling drug), Pfizer will still be the industry's sales leader, but Sanofi and Novartis will run closely behind, according to EvaluatePharma's World Preview 2016. EvaluatePharma forecasts all three companies to have prescription drug sales in the neighborhood of $50 billion by 2016. Sanofi's outlook has been boosted by its $20-billion acquisition of Genzyme, predicted growth in emerging markets and vaccines business, notes EvaluatePharma, while prospects for Novartis' pharmaceutical business have been rosier since approvals for MS pill Gilenya and Tasigna, a follow-on product to leukemia blockbuster Gleevec.

The number of drugs entering Phase III trials increased by 13% vs. 2010, the largest real-term improvement since 1995, reported drug intel firm Citeline. Its 2011 Annual Review of Trends in Pharmaceutical R&D also shows certain anticancer agents held their ground and still dominate the top two therapeutic categories by number of products currently in development (a combined 2,261). Both vaccines/anti-infectives and analgesics moved up a spot to third and fourth place, respectively, in the ranking, while antidiabetics dropped from third to fifth, after that pipeline thinned from 536 products to 507, a 6% decline.