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Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights: Vertex Pharma, AstraZeneca, Abbott Labs, Allergan and Onyx Pharmaceuticals
Date:9/23/2011

Branded drugs market share, which declined from 70% in 2005 to 64% in 2010, is expected to decline to 53% by 2015. The decline will be driven by patent expiries, with generics accounting for a significant part of pharma spending. Spending on branded medicines in 2015 is expected to remain at the same level as in 2010.

OPPORTUNITIES

We currently have a Neutral outlook on large-cap pharma stocks (Zacks #3 Rank). While the companies will continue to face challenges like pricing pressure and genericization, growth in emerging markets and product approvals could help reduce the impact.

According to the IMS Institute, 44 new branded products were launched in 2010. However, the new product approval mix was more towards orphan drugs and medicines with the same mechanism of action as existing therapies.

Important product approvals in 2011 so far include the approval of Johnson & Johnson's prostate cancer therapy, Zytiga, Merck's hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment, Victrelis, Bristol-Myers Squibb's  melanoma treatment, Yervoy, and kidney transplant therapy Nulojix, Vertex Pharma's (Nasdaq: VRTX) HCV treatment, Incivek and AstraZeneca's (NYSE: AZN) blood thinner Brilinta, among others.

We currently have Neutral recommendations on companies like Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT), Johnson & Johnson, Allergan (NYSE: AGN) and Pfizer. We believe that Allergan's presence across different segments and geographies will help maintain decent growth going forward.

In spite of the Neutral stance on the stock, we are positive on Bristol-Myers. Earnings estimates have been upped by majority of the analysts covering the stock after its strong second quarter results. 2011 has been a fruitful year for Bristol-Myer
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SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.
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