Long term forecasts confirm Keytruda’s dominance

Keytruda sales could be more than double any other product in 2026, new estimates suggests, as Merck’s cancer drug surges into the record books.

Data Insights

Abbvie’s Humira has been the best-selling drug since 2012, and looks set to retain that crown for a couple more years, but here comes Keytruda. Annual sales of the Merck & Co cancer drug will overtake the anti-TNF antibody in 2024 and reach $24.3bn in 2026, according to new long term forecasts from EvaluatePharma.

Assuming these numbers, a consensus of sellside estimates, come to pass, Keytruda will sell more than double any other drug that year. Humira still makes it into the top 15 selling drugs in 2026 although, remarkably, it is the only product in this cohort forecast to register declining sales over the next six years.

These numbers are far from set in stone, of course, and the coronavirus pandemic in particular is making short-term sales forecasts hard to pin down. But it is clear that analysts are projecting substantial growth from this group of products – some of which are already major blockbusters.

Others have more to do, however; the table below identifies recently launched drugs that are projected to become substantial products in 2026. These newer therapies, some of which have yet to establish themselves, could well struggle more with the global lockdowns.

It is also notable that the list below includes some smaller companies. Already considered a higher risk proposition when it comes to launching a drug, the likes of Global Blood and Alnylam will be closely scrutinised in the coming months.

At this stage of the Covid-19 crisis it is widely assumed that the longer term potential of these products will remain intact. However, the chance of this outlook shifting only increases the longer the current disruption lasts.

A lot still to do: recently launched products with big 2026 sales potential 
Product Company  2026e sales ($bn) CAGR 2019-26 Therapy area
Rybelsus Novo Nordisk 5.45 156% Endocrine
Rinvoq Abbvie 4.26 90% Musculoskeletal
Enhertu Astrazeneca/Daiichi Sankyo 4.00 102% Oncology
Padcev Seattle Genetics/Astellas  2.14 96% Oncology
Oxbryta Global Blood Therapeutics 2.04 167% Blood
Spravato Johnson & Johnson 1.77 86% Central Nervous System
Reblozyl Bristol-Myers Squibb 1.72 106% Blood
Evrenzo Astellas/Fibrogen/Astrazeneca 1.69 129% Blood
Breztri Aerosphere Astrazeneca 0.70 131% Respiratory
Givlaari Alnylam 0.66 231% Various
Source: EvaluatePharma. 

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