Record number of blockbusters forecast for 2018 launch as the pace of pharmaceutical innovation accelerates

Read the full 2018 Drugs to Watch report here.

Twelve new game-changing drugs are predicted to achieve blockbuster status with annual sales of more than $1 billion by 2022, according to the newly released 2018 edition of Drugs to Watch, the annual industry forecast and analysis from Clarivate Analytics.

More blockbuster drugs have been predicted to launch in 2018 than in any other year since the Drugs to Watch report began in 2013.

The Drugs to Watch projections are derived from Cortellis, the comprehensive  biopharma database from Clarivate that brings together information gathered from diverse industry sources including annual filings, drug pipelines, patents, clinical trials, chemistry,  deals, company announcements, conferences and more.

The blockbuster drugs expected to launch in 2018 cover a wide range of therapeutic areas, including type 2 diabetes, endometriosis, childhood epilepsy, hemophilia, HIV, migraine, opioid addiction and shingles. Noteworthy examples on the list include:


Drug & company Disease & Impact
Amgen (USA)
Novartis (Switzerland)
Migraine: Migraine is the third most common disease in the world, with an estimated global prevalence of 14.7% (ie, 1 in 7 people).1 Fewer than 50% of patients with migraine are satisfied with their current treatment. After little movement for many years, the migraine-prevention market is about to undergo a transformation with several new drugs, known as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor inhibitor.

Aimovig (erenumab) has the potential to contribute to the transformation of the migraine market in 2018.

(tenofovir aalafenamide + emtricitabine + bictegravir)
Gilead (USA)
HIV infection: 37 million people globally are living with HIV; 21 million of whom receive antiretroviral therapy.2 While antiretroviral therapy does not cure HIV infection, it suppresses viral replication and allows an individual’s immune system to strengthen and regain the capacity to fight off infections.

Expanding access to antiretroviral treatment is at the heart of a new set of targets for 2020, issued by the WHO, which aim to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.2 Biktarvy offers an effective and simple treatment option for patients with HIV.

Novo Nordisk (Denmark)
Type 2 diabetes: More than 425 million people globally live with diabetes, 90% with type 2 diabetes. By 2045, this number is projected to rise to 629 million.3

Despite competing in a crowded market, Ozempic represents a new treatment that helps patients effectively control their blood sugar and significantly reduces the health risks commonly associated with diabetes—such as strokes and heart attacks. It is forecast to perform well due to its superior efficacy and safety versus competitor products.

(Zoster vaccine recombinant, adjuvanted)
GlaxoSmithKline (UK)
Shingles: It’s estimated around one in every four people will have at least one episode of shingles during their life.4 The only vaccine to make the list is GSK’s Shingrix (Zoster vaccine recombinant, adjuvanted), which is set to become the market leading shingles vaccine.
(once-monthly buprenorphine)
Indivior (UK)
Opioid dependence: More than 15 million people are living with opioid dependence worldwide.5 This disorder is ongoing and is rapidly evolving into a public health crisis, with the US government declaring a public health emergency in late 2017.

Sublocade looks set to disrupt the market for medication-assisted treatment to overcome opioid use disorder. It is administered via subcutaneous injection once a month by a healthcare provider and does not require a detox period, thereby addressing the limitations of other treatment options.


2018 is also expected to see the launch of the first FDA-approved cannabidiol-based drug (Epidiolex)—potentially opening up a new market for cannabidiol-based medicines—and the first approved treatment option for men with castration-resistant prostate cancer (Erleada) whose cancer has not yet spread.


About the Drugs to Watch report

The annual Drugs to Watch report was first published in 2013. Using data from Cortellis, the report aims to forecast which drug launches in a given year will achieve blockbuster status within five years of launch. Following an advanced analysis of this database, a shortlist of drugs is manually researched and evaluated by life science experts at Clarivate Analytics, who review each drug in its individual context and assess clinical trial results, regulatory data, market data and regulatory designations for each drug.


Read the full 2018 Drugs to Watch report here.