July 26, 2018 / 10:59 AM / in 10 months

Bristol-Myers Q2 earnings rise, full-year forecast up on strong sales

NEW YORK, July 26 (Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Co on Thursday posted better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and raised its full-year forecast on strong sales from its blockbuster cancer drug Opdivo and blood thinner Eliquis.

Excluding one-time items, the drugmaker said it earned $1.01 a share in the quarter. Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of 87 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net earnings fell to $373 million, or 23 cents a share, from $916 million, or 56 cents a share, last year. The company’s results in the quarter were hurt by one-time payments to Nektar Therapeutics as part of the $1.85 billion development and profit-sharing deal on a promising Nektar cancer drug struck earlier this year.

Revenue totaled $5.7 billion in the quarter, up 11 percent from the same period last year, buoyed by sales of Eliquis, which surged 40 percent to $1.65 billion, and Opdivo, up 36 percent to $1.63 billion.

Despite strong sales for Opdivo, an immuno-oncology drug, there has been widespread investor concerns about competition from Merck & Co’s rival treatment Keytruda.

Analysts have predicted that drug’s sales will surpass Opdivo’s in the recent quarter. Merck is expected to report earnings on Friday.

Still, Bristol-Myers revised upward its full-year forecast to a range of $3.55 to $3.65 per share, raising the top and bottom end of the range of its previous forecast by 20 cents a share. It now expects mid- to high-single-digit revenue growth, after previously predicting mid-single-digit growth.

The company’s shares, which rose 1.34 percent on Wednesday to end at $59.04 on the New York Stock Exchange, are down around 3.7 percent so far this year, compared with a 5.6 increase in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. (Reporting by Michael Erman, editing by G Crosse)

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