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BMS claims 80% market share for Opdivo in US

New indications and label updates boost the cancer immunotherapy’s market position

Bristol-Myers SquibbAccelerating sales of cancer immunotherapy Opdivo helped Bristol-Myers Squibb to a 9% increase in first-quarter sales, with US turnover up nearly a quarter.

Opdivo (nivolumab) contributed $704m to BMS' total first quarter sales of $4.39bn, which came in well ahead of analyst expectations. Opdivo's sales were a massive increase on the $40m the drug brought in a year ago thanks to a steady stream of new indications and label updates.

Chief executive Giovanni Caforio told investors that Opdivo now has a market share of 80% in the US in the PD-1 inhibitor category - currently its only rival in the space is Merck & Co with Keytruda (pembrolizumab) - as well as "comparable" positions in other markets including Japan, Germany and France.

BMS' other immuno-oncology drug Yervoy (ipilimumab) fell 19% to $263m however, as sales of the drug as a monotherapy for melanoma were impacted by competition from Opdivo and Keytruda. In the US however - where the combination of Opdivo and Keytruda is approved for first-line melanoma therapy - the drug grew 10% and this offset a 50% decline elsewhere.

Yervoy's performance shows how changes in the competitive landscape can threaten even an established product. It remains to be seen whether BMS can maintain such strong momentum in immuno-oncology as Merck adds new indications for Keytruda and other rivals such as Roche and AstraZeneca near the market with new therapies.

Eyes number one slot for Eliquis
BMS has other weapons in its arsenal however, and another highlight in its first quarter figures came from novel oral anticoagulant (NOAC) Eliquis (apixaban).  The firm has set its sights set on making Eliquis the top drug in the category - and its first performance in the first three months of the year suggest it is firmly on track.

Sales of Eliquis (apixaban) more than doubled to $734m and the drug is now the number one NOAC in new-to-brand prescriptions among cardiologists in 12 markets around the world, says BMS.

Sales in the US reached $46bn in the quarter, with a 47% new-to-brand share putting it ahead of Xarelto (rivaroxaban) from Bayer/Johnson & Johnson, Boehringer Ingelheim's Pradaxa (dabigatran) and Daiichi Sankyo's Savaysa (edoxaban) in both atrial fibrillation (AF) and venous thromboembolism (VTE), according to the company.

"We're seeing this growth really across all markets, in cardiology, in hospitals and in the community setting," said BMS' head of worldwide markets Murdo Gordon.

Opdivo and Eliquis helped BMS offset a sizeable loss in sales for former blockbuster schizophrenia drug Abilify (aripiprazole) - which slumped to $33m from $554m a year ago - and the loss of revenues from the return of rights to colorectal cancer drug Erbitux (cetuximab) to Eli Lilly.

Article by
Phil Taylor

29th April 2016

From: Sales

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