GlobalData has predicted that MSD’s immuno-oncology blockbuster, Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is projected to be the best-selling drug by annual revenue in 2023, raking in $22.2bn by 2025.

The current best selling drug is Himura (adalimumab), AbbVie and Eisai’s anti-inflammatory therapy.

Following Keytruda, the company predicts that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer's Eliquis (apixaban), oral anticoagulant, will be the second best-selling drug out of the top ten, with annual sales of $18.7bn by 2025.

The predictions also show that strong 2018 sales from Eliquis are expected to continue, with worldwide sales reaching $18.7bn by 2025. Revlimid is expected to occupy third place, although its worldwide sales will be affected by generic versions, which are set to hit the US market in 2022.

Humira is forecast to fall to sixth place by 2025, a decline expected due to anticipated biosimilar competition in the EU and US.

Keshalini Sabaratnam, pharma analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Keytruda is expected to overtake AbbVie and Eisai Co’s anti-inflammatory drug Humira (adalimumab), which is currently the world’s top-selling drug. Emerging as an effective treatment for a range of cancers, Keytruda has developed into Merck & Co’s biggest product since its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in 2015. It has received market approvals for over 20 oncology indications in the US, and is continuing to expand into new indications and markets globally.”

She continued, “The checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy Opdivo, indicated for cancer, is in fourth place and will continue to have strong sales. AbbVie and Johnson & Johnson’s Imbruvica is in fifth place with sales expected to reach $11.9bn by 2025. Imbruvica has received FDA approval for multiple oncology indications and chronic graft-versus-host-disease.”

Gilead’s Biktarvy (bictegravir sodium + emtricitabine + tenofovir alafenamide), which was approved by the FDA in 2018 to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is also forecast to climb to seventh place by 2025, with expected sales of $10bn and Ibrance (palbociclib), ranked eighth, has emerged as a big earner for Pfizer, which is testing the drug on several other cancers.