The key Drugs to Watch in 2021

Likely blockbusters and game changers among therapeutics and vaccines set to launch this year.

Download Drugs to Watch 2021

A medical moonshot in vaccines and major advances against serious diseases

Despite the difficult challenges of operating in a global pandemic, biopharma companies have advanced a field of vaccine candidates for COVID-19 and milestone treatments for Alzheimer’s, heart failure and other conditions.

Drugs to Watch 2021

These therapeutics are likely to achieve blockbuster status by 2025, per Clarivate analysis, and could transform treatment paradigms for the benefit of millions of patients worldwide.

  1. Aducanumab (BIIB037)
    Neurology/psychiatric – Alzheimer’s disease
  2. Bimekizumab (UCB-4940; BKZ)
    Excessive immune response/autoimmunity – psoriasis
  3. Relugolix (TAK-385; Orgovyx; Relumina)
    Oncology – prostate cancer
    Reproductive health – endometriosis, uterine fibroids
  4. Vericiguat  (BAY-1021189; MK-1242; Verquvo)
    Cardiovascular – heart failure

In addition to this year’s Drugs to Watch, we’ve identified a number of treatments that merit mention for their potential.

These include: CAR T-cell immunotherapies from Bristol Myers Squibb (idecabtagene vicleucel) and Janssen (ciltacabtagene autoleucel); Reata’s anti-inflammatory bardoxolone methyl; Pfizer and Lilly’s NGF inhibitor tanezumab; monoclonal antibodies for treatment of atopic dermatitis from LEO Pharma (tralokinumab) and Galderma’s (nemolizumab); and Pfizer’s PF-06482077 experimental pneumonia vaccine.


Drugs to Watch showcases drugs entering the market with potential to realize $1 billion USD annual sales within five years, based on interviews with therapy experts; Clarivate drug, disease landscape and forecast reports; Cortellis sales data; and other industry sources.

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“After years of declining R&D productivity, the last five years has seen an increase in approvals of innovative medicines at a rate more than double what it was a decade ago. A number of drivers have aligned to achieve this improvement, including greater insight into the biological roots of diseases, oncology research benefiting from the routine introduction of biomarkers to better target therapies, the emergence of gene and cell therapies and efforts by regulatory agencies to introduce processes to accelerate medicine assessment.”

  • Mike Ward
  • Global Head of Thought Leadership,
  • Healthcare, Clarivate

First-to-the-finish vaccines to prevent COVID-19

In the teeth of a global crisis, pharmas and biotechs worked at a furious pace, often collaboratively, to generate a pipeline of effective vaccines, some making it to the public scarcely a year into the pandemic.

This year’s Drugs to Watch also includes a special section on the COVID-19 vaccine landscape, which summarizes the vaccines that were granted emergency use authorizations/conditional approvals as of February 10, 2021.

  1. AZD-1222
    AstraZeneca/University of Oxford
  2. BBIBP-CorV
    Beijing Institute of Biological Products Co. Ltd/Sinopharm
  3. CoronaVac
    Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
  4. Gam-COVID-Vac/Sputnik V
    Gamaleya Research Institute
  5. mRNA-1273
    Moderna Therapeutics/NIAID
  6. Tozinameran
    BioNTech SE/Pfizer Inc

As the COVID-19 landscape rapidly evolves, stay up to date with the latest developments and read about other vaccines and therapeutics in development at BioWorld.

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