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Bristol-Myers May Sell Experimental Migraine Drug

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is planning to sell an experimental migraine drug that’s in mid-stage testing because the medicine isn’t a good fit for its business, according to a person familiar with the matter.

While the drug, called BMS-927711, has completed the second of three phases of testing generally needed for market approval, the New York-based drugmaker hasn’t yet reported the data. A successful finding may set off the process to either sell the product, or license it, according to the person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the company hasn’t yet made the plans public.

Bristol-Myers said in December 2012 that its neuroscience efforts would focus on Alzheimer’s disease and depression.

About 12 percent of Americans suffer from migraines, severe headaches that can last for hours, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Current therapy includes a class of drugs called triptans, which constrict blood vessels in the brain to relieve swelling and pain. The drugs are available as generics.

The Bristol-Myers product belongs to a class of medicines being developed for migraines called CGRP antagonists. The German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, has a related drug in Phase 2 testing and, in 2011, Merck canceled development of its CGRP drug. Before that failure, Merck’s treatment was seen as a potential $1 billion seller, said Seamus Fernandez, an analyst with Leerink Swann in Boston.

Jennifer Mauer, a spokeswoman for Bristol-Myers, said in an e-mail that the company had no comment.

Bristol-Myers shares rose less than 1 percent to $33.40 at the close in New York.

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