I have to tip my hat to the marketing department at Novartis
In the near future, the marketing department won't have that difficult of a job, since Afinitor should just sell itself. It's the only drug approved for the treatment of kidney cancer after failed treatments by Pfizer's
Afinitor is in a new class of drugs that inhibit mTOR, a protein that controls tumor and blood vessel growth. Developing a new class of drugs can be risky, but also potentially lucrative if the drug is highly effective, as seems to be the case for Afinitor. But those lucrative sales will have to wait for a while.
Being a second-line treatment isn't going to get Novartis a huge amount of revenue, but the company has higher aspirations for the drug. Like so many successful cancer drugs -- Roche's Avastin, Celgene's
Those larger markets will come with substantially more competition and, while efficacy will be most important, a cool-sounding name like Afinitor certainly can't hurt sales.