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Solid Q1 performance for BMS as new launches boost sales

US pharma company puts faith in hepatitis C and diabetes pipelines

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) recorded an encouraging 11.7 per cent rise in net profit for the first quarter of 2012 as new launches helped increase revenues for the US pharma company.

Net earnings attributable to BMS for the period came in at $1.1bn, compared to $986m achieved during the same period in 2011.

A 5 per cent rise in sales was one of the main factors for this increase, with key new products including type 2 diabetes treatment Onglyza/Kombiglyze (saxagliptin), which saw revenues grow 99 per cent to $161m, and skin cancer drug Yervoy (ipilimumab), which was launched in April 2011.

Cancer drug Sprycel (dasatinib), rheumatoid arthritis treatment Orencia (abatacept) and Baraclude (entecavir) for hepatitis B allalso achieved growth, each recording Q1 revenues of more than $200m.

“This first quarter performance continues to demonstrate our ability to balance delivering strong financial results in the short-term with positioning the company for long-term success,” said Lamberto Andreotti, CEO of BMS.

He continued: “We reported good financial performance at both the top and bottom lines, a positive opinion in Europe on Forxiga for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and the presentation of important new clinical data from the company's HCV franchise.”

Forxiga is being co-developed by AstraZeneca and would be the first in a new class of insulin-independent diabetes drugs available inEurope if the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use's (CHMP)recommendation is followed by the European Commission.

BMS's hepatitis C pipeline includes daclatasvir, which has demonstrated success in sustaining virological response when used in combination with Gilead's nucleotide polymerase inhibitor GS-7977. The oral drug is a hot prospect as an alternative treatment option for patients who have failed interferon-based treatment.

The company also recently acquired Inhibitex for $2.5bn, adding oral nucleotide polymerase (NS5B) inhibitor INX-189 to its hepatitis C prospects.

US Securities and Exchange Commission investigation
Elsewhere, BMS also revealed it received a subpoena in March from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding its sales and marketing practices in several countries.

The subpoena is in connection with an investigation under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Specific details of products and territories involved in the investigation were not provided, although BMS said it was 'cooperating with the government in its investigation of these matters'.

In a separate issue, the SEC has also begun a formal inquiry into the activities of some of the company's German pharmaceutical subsidiaries and employees.

This inquiry, which had previously been disclosed in 2006, also concerns potential violations of the FCPA.

27th April 2012

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