Pharma drug pipeline suddenly looking a lot healthier

The pharmaceutical industry had entered a long slowdown that is supposed to culminate in 2012-2013, when the industry reaches a patent expiration cliff. Up until recently, it didn't look like the new drug pipeline was going to replace the losses from the patent expiration and the increased generic competition. In the past few months, however, more approvals and positive clinical trials have changed the overall picture.

For example, Amgen Inc. (AMGN) posted positive results on its experimental denosumab bone drug. While today an advisory panel review at the FDA will likely center on safety, a decision is supposed to be reached by October 19 (but will likely be delayed, as is usual for the FDA). The drug is expected to be a blockbuster, with sales of over $1 billion a year, if not a mega-blockbuster.