The age of high revenue generating blockbuster drugs.

'Blockbuster' drugs are those that generate at least $1Bn in revenue a year for biopharmaceutical companies that produce them. While it's true that many drug companies are extremely profitable, there's also a lot of time, effort, and financial-resources that go into the development of said drugs.

According to @EvaluatePharma, around 10% of total drug sales in 2024 will be from ten ‘mega blockbuster’ drugs - all with peak-year sales greater than $5Bn.

This new article via @Nature analyses the factors underlying the success of existing blockbusters. In particular, the importance of the intrinsic characteristics of the drugs (‘nature’) and the strategies for their clinical development (‘nurture’).

The analyses compared blockbusters with >$2 billion in peak-year sales (n = 33), blockbusters with $1–2 billion in peak-year sales (n = 39), and ‘non-blockbusters’ with $200–500 million peak-year sales (n = 38) over the period 2010–2024, with sales data beyond 2019 based on forecasts.

The authors conclude that the best marker for the 'nature' value of a blockbuster is the clinical benefit it delivers to patients. U.S. FDA breakthrough therapy and/or accelerated approval status were granted 5-fold more frequently for current blockbusters compared with non-blockbuster drugs. Meanwhile, nurturing demands investment. Not only financial-resources but also active refinement of clinical strategies.

Both are needed.

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