Q3 Earnings Round-up

Below are some highlights from third quarter earnings reports recently released by biologics and biosimilar companies.

  • Johnson & Johnson reported that Remicade (infliximab) sales declined more than 1% in the U.S. and more than 8% worldwide year-over-year.  During its earnings call, company executives explained that two-thirds of the decline in sales in Europe were due to the timing of shipments by J&J’s commercialization partner, Merck.  In response to a question posed during the call regarding biosimilar competition, the company attributed much of the strength of Remicade in the market to physicians being “very reluctant to switch stable patients for Remicade into other medicines” due to the “the body of data that supports using Remicade and the lack of interchangeability.”
  • Novartis reported that its global sales of biopharmaceuticals (through Sandoz, Novartis’s biosimilars and generics unit) increased 9% year-over-year for Q3, and the growth was “mainly driven by Zarxio in the U.S. and launches of Rixathon (rituximab) and Erelzi (etanercept) in the EU.”  During its earnings call, Novartis executives described generally positive feedback from the launches of Rixathon and Erelzi, stating that “[t]hese products are helping Sandoz create great performance outside the U.S., which is more than offsetting the continued price pressure in the U.S.”
  • Amgen reported year-over-year Q3 sales declines for Enbrel (etanercept) [-6%], Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) [-6%], Neupogen (filgrastim) [-25%], and Epogen (epoetin alfa) [-21%].  During the company’s earnings call, Amgen executives attributed much of the decline for Neupogen to biosimilar competition.  Company executives also stated that the company expects its own biosimilar business to become a source of revenue growth now that it has received approvals for Mvasi (bevacizumab) and Amgevita (adalimumab).
  • AbbVie reported that global sales for Humira (adalimumab) increased nearly 15% and U.S. sales increased more than 19% operationally.  During AbbVie’s earnings call, company executives revised the company’s estimates for Humira sales by 2020 to $21 billion from the original estimate of $18 billion.
  • Pfizer reported that its biosimilars business continues to grow, with global revenue increasing 67% operationally in the quarter.  During its earnings call, company executives stated that although Inflectra (infliximab) has grown in the U.S., “penetration in the U.S. continues to be slower than expected due to the exclusionary contracting of Remicade by J&J, contracting that we believe violates the antitrust laws.”
  • Momenta reported that it is working toward the first submission for marketing approval of its Humira biosimilar in late 2017.  During Momenta’s earnings call, company executives expressed the view that “U.S. market formation for biosimilar competition with Humira is more likely to begin in late 2022 or 2023 [when] AbbVie’s key Rockford formulation patent expires” and that they expect Momenta’s biosimilar to be among the first to launch at U.S. market formation.