(Adds analyst comment, shares, details on immuno-oncology
By Ransdell Pierson
July 24 Bristol-Myers Squibb Co reported
better-than-expected quarterly results, helped by cost controls
and strong sales of its Eliquis blood clot preventer and Yervoy
treatment for melanoma.
Sales of Eliquis, which Bristol-Myers co-markets with Pfizer
Inc, rose to $171 million. The pill, used to prevent
strokes in patients with an irregular heartbeat called atrial
fibrillation, has had disappointing sales since it was approved
in late 2012, but has picked up steam in recent months.
Yervoy sales jumped 38 percent to $321 million.
Company revenue slipped 4 percent to $3.90 billion, but
topped Wall Street expectations of $3.85 billion. Revenue would
have risen 7 percent if Bristol-Meyers had not earlier this year
sold its global diabetes business to longtime partner
Bristol-Myers is counting on an array of experimental
immuno-oncology drugs to succeed in clinical trials and propel
sales growth in coming years. The company, along with Merck & Co
and Roche Holding AG, is racing to develop such
treatments, which train the immune system to recognize cancer
cells and to attack them.
Yervoy, one of the first immuno-oncology drugs, was approved
in 2011 to treat patients with late-stage melanoma. But most
excitement is centered around a drug called Opdivo (nivolumab),
which Bristol-Myers is testing against melanoma, lung cancer and
blood cancers. It is a so-called PD-1 inhibitor, considered the
most promising new class of cancer treatments.
In a conference call with investors on Thursday,
Bristol-Myers executives said they expect data from those trials
to begin rolling out this year and next year.
"Overall, we continue to see Bristol-Myers' immuno-oncology
portfolio as an $8 billion to $10 billion (annual sales)
opportunity for the company" that is not fully reflected in
Bristol-Myers' share price, JP Morgan analyst Chris Schott said
Thursday in a research note.
The U.S. drugmaker said it earned $333 million, or 20 cents
per share, in the second quarter. That compared with $536
million, or 32 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.
Excluding special items, including $458 million in
merger-related charges, Bristol-Myers earned 48 cents per share.
Analysts on average expected 44 cents per share.
Bristol-Myers stuck to its prior full-year earnings view of
$1.70 to $1.80 per share.
Company shares were up 0.7 percent to $49.67 in afternoon
trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson, Editing by Franklin Paul, Chizu
Nomiyama and Diane Craft)