July 19 (Reuters) - About two dozen different drugs are approved to fight the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS. They are used in so-called cocktails to attack the virus from several different directions.
Californian upstart Gileadhas outflanked larger rivals to dominate the HIV/AIDS sector, thanks to a single-minded focus on producing convenient combination pills.
The industry's giants are fighting back, with GlaxoSmithKlineand Pfizer joining forces last year to create a new joint company for HIV called ViiV.
Generic competition means sales of existing drugs are set to peak at around $12 billion in 2012 before halving by 2019, according to market research group Datamonitor, putting pressure on manuacturers to deliver new medicines from their pipelines.
WORLD'S TOP HIV DRUGS
Drug Company 2009 sales U.S. approval
Truvada Gilead$2.49 bln 2004
Atripla Gilead/Bristol $2.38 bln 2006
Reyataz Bristol-Myers$1.40 bln 2003
Kaletra Abbott Labs$1.37 bln 2000
Epzicom ViiV $855 mln 2004
Isentress Merck$752 mln 2007
Viread Gilead $668 mln 2001
Combivir ViiV $665 mln 1997
Prezista J&J$592 mln 2006
Epivir ViiV $542 mln 1995
source: Thomson Reuters; U.S Food and Drug Administration (Reporting by Ben Hirschler)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.