Table: Brewing Drug Battle
Sales of rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel nearly doubled to $652 million last year, but supply shortfalls are opening doors for Immunex' rivals
JOHNSON & JOHNSON'S REMICADE
Like Enbrel, Remicade blocks the inflammatory agent TNF. With Immunex' drug in short supply, many physicians are prescribing Remicade, even though it must be taken with the harsh chemotherapy drug methotrexate.
Expected to be approved by yearend, Anakinra blocks interleukin-1, another culprit in rheumatoid arthritis. Early data suggest it's not as effective as Enbrel--but with few good alternatives on the market, Amgen is likely to grab market share.
ABBOTT LABS' D2E7
Although this drug also blocks TNF, like Enbrel, its structure is closer to naturally occurring antibodies. That means patients could get the same benefit with lower doses--a prospect that enthralls drug analysts. Abbott should file for approval next year.