New Drugs from Abbvie, Gilead, Intercept and Merck Forecast to Achieve Blockbuster Status by 2020

Annual ‘Drugs to Watch’ study spotlights seven emerging blockbusters poised to enter the market in 2016

PHILADELPHIA, PA — According to a new report from the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters, there are a total of seven new therapeutics currently in the new drug development pipeline that should enter the market this year and surpass $1 billion in annual sales by 2020.  Two of these are projected to top $2 billion in annual sales.

These projections are detailed in the annual Drugs to Watch 2016 report, which mines pharmaceutical industry data to forecast the new therapeutics with the largest marketplace potential.

The two new drugs projected to exceed $2 billion in annual sales are: a chronic liver disease treatment from Intercept Pharmaceuticals and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma with the chemical name obeticholic acid; and an anti-HIV-1 infection treatment from Gilead Sciences and Japan Tobacco which combines the chemicals emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide. A key trend in 2016 is the continued development of more convenient fixed-dose, all-oral regimens for HIV and HCV (Hepatitis C).

The analysis spotlights the following seven potential blockbusters, ranked by highest sales forecasts:


Ranking (by highest sales forecasts for 2020)



Pharmaceutical Company

2020 Forecast Sales (US $ billions)


Obeticholic acid

Chronic liver diseases, primarily primary biliary cirrhosis

Intercept Pharmaceuticals and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma



Emtricitabine + tenofovir alafenamide (F/TAF)

HIV-1 infection

Gilead Sciences and Japan Tobacco



Tenofovir alafenamide + emtricitabine + rilpivirine (R/F/TAF)

HIV-1 infection

Gilead Sciences and Janssen R&D



MK-5172A (grazoprevir + elbasvir)

HCV infection

(Hepatitis C)

Merck & Co




Chronic lymphocytic leukemia




Nuplazid (pimavanserin)

Parkinson's disease psychosis 

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals



Uptravi (selexipag)

Pulmonary arterial hypertension

Nippon Shinyaku Co and Actelion


“The relationship between drug prices and the costs of development is expected to be a major focal point for drug companies, investors, regulators and politicians this year,” said Richard Harrison, Chief Scientific Officer, Intellectual Property & Science, Thomson Reuters. “With the rise of global healthcare costs, the need to demonstrate meaningful impact will be greater than ever for pharmaceutical companies. These seven drugs are likely to figure prominently in those discussions.”

Having accurately anticipated that 11 new potential blockbuster drugs would enter the market in 2015 - all of which are still forecast to reach blockbuster status by 2019 (with the exception of Gardasil 9, for which forecasts were not available as of January 2016) - the Drugs to Watchreport addresses a new line-up of significant therapeutics for the year ahead.

Thomson Reuters analysts utilized Cortellis™ Competitive Intelligence, the pharmaceutical industry’s leading source for drug pipeline, deals, patents, and company content to forecast the new-to-market drugs expected to lead the pack in sales and potentially emerge as blockbusters (earning $ 1 billion+) by 2020.

To learn more about the year’s most promising treatments, read the Drugs to Watch 2016 report. Learn more about Cortellis for Competitive Intelligence.

Thomson Reuters
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