Saturday, May 12, 2007

The making of a quiet blockbuster - Update

A few weeks back Pharmalyst had posted about the makings of a quiet blockbuster at Pfizer (Chantix - their new smoking cessation drug). Based on past CDC surveys of smokers, Pharmalyst had estimated Pfizer would probably enlist 2.6 million smokers to try Chantix and perhaps 65% of them would complete the full course and generate around $447million for Pfizer (@$265 per course).

Well, Pfizer's Q1 numbers are in and Pfizer reported $162 million in sales ($145 million in the US and $17MM international). Annualizing those figures, it does appear that Pfizer will generate around $580 million in annual sales (though to be sure the Q1 numbers probably included a number of people who wanted to quit smoking per their new year resolutions - so the annualized US figure will be less than 145*4). Ever the consummate CYA artist, Pharmalyst had caveated his $447 million estimate with the following statement:

"The actual figure could easily be double that (or even more, given the total potential market size) if Pfizer's DTC advertising succeeds in a big way. "

With Pfizer on track to generate around $550 million without a branded DTC campaign (currently there is an unbranded campaign), Pharmalyst would estimate that they will probably reach around 3 million patients. If their branded campaign is reasonably successful, they might increase their patient base by 50% to 4.5million. If 65% of these 4.5 million patients complete the full course of Chantix, this works out to around $775 million in US sales alone!

Coming soon on this topic: 1.Estimates for other developed markets 2. Estimates for some large developing markets (China reportedly has 300 million smokers and looks like Pfizer wants to launch this product in China to coincide with the least that was Hank McKinnel's strategy)

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