According to a report compiled by data analytics firm GlobalData, the top ten diabetes drug manufacturers have generated a total of $ 62 billion in 2014 global sales, a rise of 5.1% year-on-year. Among them, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi and Merck (Merck & Co) turned out to be the biggest winner in diabetes drug sales, with Pfizer, Eli Lilly followed.
Novo Nordisk led the global diabetes market in 2014, with sales of $11.3 billion. Its main diabetes products include a Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), Victoza (liraglutide), for the treatment of diabetes 2 and a long-lasting insulin injection, Levemir.
Currently, the company has also been aggressively involved in R&D in its area of expertise. Its basal insulin- Tresiba has already been launched in EU market, and is awaiting for the approval of FDA( US Food and Drug Administration), with results expected to come in October. Reuters’ analysts say, Tresiba sales will achieve $ 2.2 billion by 2020.
In addition, Novo is also developing a long-acting, weekly injected oral diabetes drug-semaglutide. With strong sales momentum and promising product line, Novo Nordisk may double its diabetes product sales within a decade. The CEO Kare Schultz claim that in 2020 there will be 40 million diabetics using Novo Nordisk’s drug, increasing at least 10% in annual sales.
The French drug-maker Sanofi ranked second in the GlobalData’s list, with $10.7 billion diabetes drug sales last year, even its top-selling product Lantus failed to deliver its usual outstanding sales numbers.
The long-acting insulin, the world's best-selling drugs, lost its patent protection in the United States in February this year, and the bio-similar LY2963016 jointly developed by Eli Lilly and Boehringer is awaiting approval to enter the market.
The diabetes market competition becomes increasingly fierce, along with emergence of Tresiba, Novo Nordisk’s new rival, which greatly affected the sales of Sanofi’s Lantus. In 2014, The drug brought in $ 7 billion sales, but 1.6 billion euros in first-quarter sale this year, down 5% globally and 13% in the US.
However, the new launches including Lyxumia, Toujeo and inhaled insulin Afrezza, will help to make up for the sales shortfall by Lantus in the future. Besides, Sanofi also pay close attention to the introduction of Novo Nordisk’s Tresiba, because the insulin is more likely a direct competitor to its Lantus’ successor, Toujeo.
Merck took the third place, bringing in $ 7.4 billion diabetes sales in 2014, a 0.7% dip compared with 2013. The company relies on its DPP-4 inhibitor Januvia and combo drug Janumet to contribute sales. Januvia can contribute 6 billion in sales per year, but faces the mounting generic market competition.
Recently, however, Merck announced that Januvia passed a key heart safety test in a large study trial, proving that it would not increase the risk of heart failure. Bernstein & Co. analyst Tim Anderson said that positive trial news can stimulate Januvia/ Janumet sales growth by 10% by 2020.
Pfizer & Eli Lilly
Pfizer and Eli Lilly, respectively with $7.3 billion and $4.5 billion of diabetes sales grabbed the fourth and fifth place in the list. In 2013, Pfizer signed contract with Merck for co-development a new drug for patients with type 2 diabetes.
Meanwhile, Eli Lilly relies on its fast-acting insulin--Humalog to contribute to rapid sales growth, and is waiting for its newly approved antidiabetic drugs--Trulicity to boost sales. In addition, Lilly's combo diabetes drug Glyxambi, co-marketed with Boehringer, received FDA approval in February this year; and another diabetes drug--Synjardy was also approved in Europe in March. The two drugs are expected to bolster the company's sales in the year to come.