Seven of the top 10 and all of the top six drugs will be biologics in just five years time, says a new report from analysts at Evaluate Pharma. Heading the pack will be Roche’s cancer antibody Avastin (bevacizumab) – reeling in $9.2 billion in sales despite its recent setbacks for adjuvant use in colon cancer – but closely followed by Abbott and Eisai’s arthritis medication Humira (adalimumab) at $9.1 billion.

Roche’s cancer offering Rituxan (rituximab; $7.8 billion), Wyeth/Amgen/Takeda’s Enbrel for arthritis (etanercept; $6.5 billion), Sanofi-Aventis’ diabetes giant Lantus (insulin glargine; $6.4 billion), Roche’s Herceptin (trastuzumab; $5.8 billion) and Schering-Plough, J&J’s Remicade (infliximab; $5.2 billion) make up the other biologics expected to dominate the world pharmaceutical market in 2014.

The fact that a biotech product will assume Lipitor’s (atorvastatin) crown after Pfizer’s multi billion dollar cholesterol lowering drug goes off patent in 2012, indicates the increasing importance of biotech drugs – and specifically cancer antibodies, say the analysts.

Last year, four of the top-five were small molecule drugs, with Lipitor bringing in a phenomenal $13.5 billion. Avastin only just made it into the league table in tenth place.

However, while there is a clear shift towards biologics, Evaluate Pharma says small molecule drugs will still make up the bulk of pharma’s revenues, at $406 billion in 2014 compared to $169 billion for biotech products. "Nevertheless," the report adds, "the weight of evidence for a shift to biotech products as the industry's growth driver is overwhelming, making the recent moves by big pharma to access biotech platforms...all the more compelling."