- Bristol-Myers Squibb saw revenues increase by 17% in the second quarter, fueled by rapid sales growth of the drugmaker's newest cancer immunotherapy Opdivo and stronger-than-expected performance from its hepatitis C franchise in the U.S.
- The jump in product sales was partially offset by a decline in alliance revenue tied to the expiration of commercial rights to Otsuka Pharmaceutical's antidepressant Abilify and the transfer of North American rights to Erbitux to Eli Lilly last October.
- All eyes have been on Opdivo and Bristol-Myers' earlier immunotherapy Yervoy, both of which are key to future growth. Sales of Opdivo increased nearly six-fold compared to last year, totaling $840 million in the second quarter. While Yervoy did well in the U.S., sales disappointed abroad.
Opdivo, a promising checkpoint inhibitor which has rapidly won approval for a variety of cancers, is Bristol-Myers crown jewel. Although Bristol-Myers faces stiff competition from Merck's Keytruda, Opdivo has quickly locked up significant market share early on.
Sales of Opdivo were boosted by "higher demand resulting from the rapid commercial acceptance for several indications," Bristol-Myers said in a securities filing. The drug has won US approval for treatment of certain types of melanoma, non-squamous cell lung cancer, renal cell carcinoma and Hodgkin lymphoma.
Bristol-Myers is also aiming to win approvals for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck and bladder cancer.
Opdivo pulled in $643 million in U.S. sales and $197 million in non-U.S. markets.
Although its predecessor Yervoy faired moderately well in the U.S. thanks to combination approvals with Opdivo, sales of Yervoy outside of the U.S. fell by 61%. Bristol-Myers ascribed some of this drop to cannibalization of sales from the success of Opdivo.
Bristol-Myers heart drug Eliquis also performed well, with higher demand and market share boosting global sales 77% to $777 million, compared to a year prior.
But the main surprise was the performance of the company's hepatitis C franchise in the U.S. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration last year, Daklinza pulled in $294 million in sales over the three months ended June 30. Given the strong competition from Gilead's drugs Harvoni and Sovaldi, as well as from others by Merck and AbbVie, Daklinza had not been expected to do as well.
That pop doesn't look like it will last for long, however. "U.S. revenues are expected to significantly decline in the second half of 2016 due to lower demand resulting from increased competition," Bristol-Myers said in a securities filing.
With those sales fading in the future, Opdivo and Yervoy will only take on greater importance for Bristol-Myers fortunes.
Merck reports earnings of its rival drug Keytruda tomorrow, which will be closely watched for signs of gains made against Opdivo. And Roche is lining up new approvals for its checkpoint inhibitor Tecentriq, currently approved for bladder cancer.
Bristol-Myers will likely have its work cut out for it to maintain Opdivo's lead in the market.