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S&P expects several major drugmakers to feel weight of biosimilars


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S&P expects several major drugmakers to feel weight of biosimilars

U.S. approvals for copies of branded biologic drugs, called biosimilars, have gained speed and could take a chunk of revenue from big pharmaceutical companies, S&P Global Ratings said in a March 3 report.

Drugmakers at the highest risk of biosimilar exposure include AbbVie Inc., Amgen Inc., Roche Holding AG, Novo Nordisk A/S and Johnson & Johnson, S&P Global Ratings said.

AbbVie's Humira brought in about $19.2 billion in revenue in 2019, which was more than 57% of the company's overall revenue, and five biosimilars of the arthritis and psoriasis drug are permitted to enter the market in 2023. S&P Global Ratings said that AbbVie anticipates a 45% to 48% erosion of those sales due to the competition.

J&J's Remicade, similarly, has fallen 23% in Medicare Part B net price as biosimilars entered the market in 2019, according to the report. Remicade had $3.8 billion in sales that year.

But the influx of biosimilars has also given some drugmakers a leg up in the industry, particularly those that make the copycat drugs.

Among the companies likely to benefit from the biosimilar movement are Novartis AG, Pfizer Inc., Biogen Inc., Mylan NV, Merck & Co. Inc. and — making an appearance on both lists — Amgen.

"Amgen stands out as active on both sides of the biosimilar aisle; a change to biosimilar uptake would have an uncertain impact on the company's creditworthiness," the S&P Global Ratings report said. At least four biosimilars in Amgen's pipeline are expected to surpass $250 million in worldwide sales by 2024, the agency said.

The report went on to say that the fragmented nature of the biosimilar industry has led to competition among makers of the copycat drugs. But the arrival of a consolidated leader is "inevitable," and a company that can become a leader in commercialization, manufacturing and product quality would change the face of the biosimilar story.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.