Bristol Myers lifts annual profit view on hopes of pickup in patient visits

(Reuters) - Bristol Myers Squibb Co BMY.N on Thursday raised its annual profit forecast as it predicted a recovery in sales of its hospital-administered drugs, which had taken a hit to demand as patients avoided doctors' offices due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Logo of global biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb is pictured on the blouse of an employee in Le Passage, near Agen, France March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Shares of the company rose over 4% in morning trading, also buoyed by a court ruling that upheld the company's patents on its top-selling drug, blood thinner Eliquis, which its shares with Pfizer Inc PFE.N.

The U.S. drugmaker expects the ruling and other settlements with generic drugmakers to protect the drug, which accounted for over 21% of its second-quarter sales, at least through 2026.

In the second quarter, drugs such as cancer immunotherapy Opdivo were hurt by fewer visits to the doctor as well as demand from new patients.

Opdivo sales fell 9% to $1.65 billion, roughly in line with analysts’ estimates, but the company said it expected the drug to return to growth in 2021.

The company said it was expecting demand from new patients as well as for its products administered by doctors to recover in the third quarter and stabilize in the fourth quarter.

“Overall, this was a solid quarter for Bristol, given the circumstances,” said Edward Jones analyst Ashtyn Evans.

Sales of Eliquis, which has been used to treat some COVID-19 patients, rose 6% to $2.16 billion.

Bristol raised the lower end of its full-year adjusted profit range by 10 cents and the top end by 5 cents to $6.10 to $6.25 per share.

Bristol’s total revenue rose 61.5% to $10.13 billion, above an estimate of $9.97 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv, mainly due to its $74 billion buyout of Celgene.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and Michael Erman in New Jersey; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Anil D’Silva and Jonathan Oatis