More pharmaceutical companies will lose drug patents to the patent cliff in 2014, threatening billions of dollars in revenue for Big Pharma.
Once a drug is off patent, other pharmaceutical companies are free to replicate the product. That can drastically slash the revenue of pharmaceutical companies that have been making billions of dollars from their patented products.
Not all patent-cliff companies face immediate competition, but they do face huge threats to their revenue. And that can worry investors.
Just look at this patent cliff chart illustrating how much the biggest pharmaceutical companies stand to lose:
Patent Cliff 2014: Who Stands to Lose
Sanofi SA (NYSE: SNY) risks losing more than $6.5 billion in revenue from one drug alone. Its long-acting diabetes drug Lantus is one of the largest revenue generators going off patent in 2014.
Sanofi will also be losing Renagel, Fabrazyme, Multaq, and Actonel to the patent cliff in 2014. Sanofi risks losing approximately $8.1 billion in revenue this year.
Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) will see its prescription cancer treatment Gleevec go off patent in 2014, and with it nearly $4.69 billion in revenue. The company will also lose its patents to Sandostatin ($1.59 billion) and Exforge ($1.46 billion).
Note: The Volatility Index, or VIX, is the most powerful trading indicator for the broader markets. Here's how you should trade it.
When Rituxan, used to treat certain types of cancer as well as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, goes off patent in 2014, Roche Holding Ltd. (VTX: ROG) will risk losing more than $7.2 billion in revenue. Rituxan is Roche's only major patent-cliff drug in 2014, but at more than $7 billion, it's a huge loss.
AstraZeneca plc's (NYSE: AZN) heartburn medication Nexium accounted for nearly $3.99 billion in revenue in 2012. That combined with the $2.73 billion revenue from asthma treatment Symbicort has AZN facing $6.7 billion in patent cliff loses.
Finally, Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE: LLY) will be losing the patents to the antidepressant Cymbalta and the osteoporosis drug Evista at a price of $4.99 billion and $1.01 billion, respectively.
When Big Pharma companies face the patent cliff, they will often acquire small-cap biotech companies with late-stage development products in their portfolio. As Money Morning Executive Editor Bill Patalon has outlined, investors can profit from these "buyout binges."
Join the conversation on Twitter with #PatentCliff and be sure to follow @MoneyMorning for frequent updates.
Some of the top gold producers are back on the "acquisition trail," creating huge profit opportunities if you know where to look...