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BMS bounces back to form in Q3

New launches in cancer, diabetes and RA help recovery from patent expiries

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) buildingBristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) posted a 9 per cent sales increase in the third quarter that indicates the hangover from patent expiries to former blockbusters Avapro and Plavix is fading fast.

Overall revenues of $4.1bn were a little ahead of analyst expectations and reflected stellar performances from melanoma drug Yervoy (ipilimumab) - up 33 per cent to $238m in the quarter - and Orencia (abatacept) for rheumatoid arthritis which rose 22 per cent to $307m.

Rounding out the crop of newer products, BMS' saxagliptin franchise for diabetes (Onglyza and Kombiglyze) added $211m, up 17 per cent, while leukaemia therapy Sprycel (dasatinib) climbed 20 per cent to $316m.

Avapro (irbesartan) for high blood pressure and anticoagulant Plavix (clopidogrel) continued their inexorable slide, down 25 per cent and 34 per cent to reach $71m and $42m, respectively.

US net sales increased 1 per cent to $2bn, but BMS did very well overseas with international sales up 18 per cent to $2bn. BMS posted earnings before tax of $818m in the quarter, reversing a $1.26bn deficit in the same period of 2012.

Chief executive Lamberto Andreotti told investors on a conference call that "not only was our growth strong … but also it was diversified, cutting across our portfolio."

He also pointed to gaining momentum for blood thinner Eliquis (apixaban) and diabetes drug Bydureon (exenatide), which have been slow burners for BMS but pulled in $41m and $87m respectively in the quarter.

"With respect to Eliquis, we are still very far from the sales levels these products can achieve, but we are seeing definite signs of progress, especially with cardiologists," said Andreotti.

He also noted that BMS plans to expand the label for the product and has filed for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prevention in the US, which is already an approved indication in Europe, and plans to file for VTE treatment this year.

Meanwhile, BMS is also sitting on an encouraging late-stage pipeline, particularly its hepatitis C portfolio. This includes an all-oral treatment combination due to generate phase III data next month.

The company is also excited about its immuno-oncology portfolio, notably anti-PD1 candidate nivolumab which is currently in 25 clinical trials across multiple tumour types.

Article by
Phil Taylor

25th October 2013

From: Sales

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