Despite hollow pipelines across the industry in 2008, seven drugs could hypothetically reach blockbuster status, according to Doug Long, director of industry relations at IMS Health.

Among the potential blockbusters are Effient (prasugrel), under development through a collaboration including Eli Lilly, Sankyo Pharmaceuticals and Ube Pharmacetuicals. Effient is an oral antiplatelet agent for the treatment of acute coronary syndrome.

MedImmune’s Numax is being developed as a successor to its billion-dollar drug Synagis (palivizumab), for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus in infants.

Wyeth’s serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), was approved by the FDA in February for the treatment of adults with major depressive disorder. In April, Wyeth received a preliminary approval for Viviant (bazedoxifene), a postmenopausal osteoporosis treatment.

Asenapine, a Schering-Plough acquisition following the company’s combination with Organon BioSciences in 2007, is touting minimal side effects in the treatment of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The FDA is currently reviewing an NDA for Ansenapine.

The FDA has accepted Centocor’s Biologics License Application for ustekinumab, a treatment for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. An NDA for UCB’s Vimpat (lacosamide) was also accepted for review by the FDA, for the treatment of diabetic neuropathic pain and partial onset seizures in adults with epilepsy.

The seven aforementioned products were mentioned by Long at a meeting of the Association of Medical Media, in New York City on May 22. According to Long, blockbuster drugs have been in steady decline since heydays in the mid-to-late 90s. “More research and development funds are being spent than ever before, with the same amount or less coming out [of the pipeline],” said Long.