Bristol-Myers Tops Earnings Estimates on Drug Sales

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. reported second-quarter profit that topped analyst estimates on sales of its cancer immunotherapy Yervoy and its blood-thinner Eliquis.

Yervoy, approved for malignant melanoma in 2011, had $321 million in sales in the quarter, beating the average analyst estimate of $292 million. The New York-based company also bettered analyst expectations on earnings by 3 cents, reporting 48 cents a share excluding one-time items.

Bristol-Myers is testing Yervoy, the first of the company’s immunotherapies, with its experimental drug nivolumab in a range of cancers, a move that may boost future sales, analysts have said. Revenue for Eliquis, the anti-coagulant approved in 2013, was $171 million, topping a $129.2 million estimate.

“The focus remains on Bristol’s immuno-oncology,” Alex Arfaei, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets Corp., said today in a note to clients. Arfaei, based in New York, highlighted the nivolumab trials for non-small cell lung cancer, which he said have “a very high probability of success.”

Bristol-Myers rose less than 1 percent to close at $49.46 in New York. The company has gained 11 percent in the past 12 months.

Bristol-Myers is open to acquisitions of all sizes, especially in its key areas of immuno-oncology and virology, Chief Executive Officer Lamberto Andreotti said today in a conference call with analysts. The company had been named as potential acquirer for Shire Plc before AbbVie Inc. bought the Dublin-based specialty drugmaker for $55 billion on July 19. AbbVie will gain a lower tax rate by moving its legal address abroad.

Tax Deal

Doing a tax inversion deal is not a priority for Bristol-Myers, Chief Financial Officer Charles Bancroft said on the call, as the company has a relatively low tax rate and there may be future changes in U.S. law that would prevent such deals.

Net income for the quarter fell 37 percent to $333 million, or 20 cents a share, from $536 million, or 32 cents, a year earlier, the company said in its statement. Revenue from Abilify, the company’s best-selling drug, declined 1 percent to $555 million.

Sales of the hepatitis B drug Baraclude and HIV treatment Reyataz missed analysts’ estimates. Baraclude was affected by lower demand in China and Reyataz is facing increased competitive pressure in the HIV treatment space, Bancroft said.

The company confirmed its 2014 profit forecast of $1.70 to $1.80 a share excluding certain items.

Bristol-Myers has applied for U.S. regulatory clearance for compounds to treat hepatitis C and expects to hear from the Food and Drug Administration by Nov. 30. Their therapy, a combination of daclatasvir and asunaprevir, may compete with Gilead Sciences Inc.’s $1,000-a-pill Sovaldi.

The company said yesterday it will partner with Osaka-based Ono Pharmaceutical Co. to develop and commercialize immuno-oncology treatments for patients in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

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