For some perspective on the Avastin sales number, consider that Genentech and Biogen Idec's
The reason for Avastin's exceptional sales ramp is rapid uptake into the colorectal cancer market. It was discussed in yesterday's conference call that Avastin has 20% penetration in front-line therapy and greater than 30% penetration as second-line treatment in patients with relapsed or refractory disease. Those are impressive figures for a drug that was approved only five months ago.
A fast drug launch usually indicates peak sales in the future will be substantial. How high can Avastin sales go? Given the market-share figures in colorectal cancer, I think it is very likely that there is room for sales to at least double in that disease. That alone makes Avastin a billion-dollar product. Over time, with expansion into other markets, Avastin could rival Rituxan as Genentech's top product.
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Fool contributor Charly Travers does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article.