Despite large-scale consolidation in the healthcare industry, Bristol-Myers Squibb has remained for the most part on the sidelines, avoiding transformational mega-deals in favour of smaller bolt-ons, primarily in the biopharma sector. Once the world's #1 drug company, it has steadily been pushed down the rankings by mergers or aggressive growth among its competitors. During the 1990s, it sold off several of its non-core lines, followed in 2001 by its central Clairol business (to Procter & Gamble) as well as half of its medical devices portfolio, in order to concentrate on medicines. Several other non-core units were sold or spun off in 2008 and 2009, most significantly the Mead Johnson nutritionals division. Because of its size, BMS is regarded as a potential takeover target. The group entered tentative merger negotiations in 2007 with Sanofi, the developer of its best-selling product, Plavix, which alone accounted for around a third of revenues in 2011. However, no agreement was reached. Plavix lost its patent towards the end of 2012, and several other important patents end in 2014 and 2015, creating a significant challenge for BMS's future performance.
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Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Mar 2017: Pfizer once again dominated the pharmaceutical sector in 2016 in direct-to-consumer advertising. According to figures from Nielsen it spent a whopping $1.19bn to market its drugs to US consumers last year, 2.5 times nearest rival Bristol-Myers Squibb, which spent $458m. AbbVie, Eli Lilly and Allergan rounded out the top five at between $350m and $450m apiece. Individual top spenders were Lilly's Trulicity, BMS's Opdivo, and Lyrica and Xeljanz from Pfizer.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Jan 2017: Pharmaceutical shares also slipped into the red following President-elect Trump's stormy first press conference. Among multiple other topics he touched upon, Trump promised to devote special attention to Big Pharma, not least the pricing of new drugs, and where they are made. He attacked drug companies for making their products outside the US to save costs, while also "getting away with murder" on pricing. "We're the largest buyer of drugs in the world and yet we don't bid properly... Pharma has a lot of lobbies, lobbyists and a lot of power. There is very little bidding on drugs... We’re going to start bidding and we are going to save billions of dollars over a period of time." All the major drug companies suffered a slump in valuations following Trump's remarks, averaging around 3.5% across the board. Worst hit were Bristol-Myers Squibb, down over 5%, and Abbvie over 4%. Pfizer, Amgen, Eli Lilly and Gilead fell more than 2% each.
Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Oct 2016: Shares in pharmaceutical group Bristol-Myers Squibb took another tumble following publication of full details of disappointing recent trial results for its cancer drug Opdivo, previously seen as a major future blockbuster. Initial reports prompted a 20% plunge in BMS stock last month, but the full report is even worse than analysts had anticipated. Opdivo had been conceived as a less gruelling alternative to traditional chemotherapy for certain types of lung cancer. However the full trial results suggest that it is in fact also less effective, not just than chemotherapy but also than rival drug Keytruda, from Merck. The latter also reported new trial data this week, but this showed better than expected results. The sharp contrast between the two announcements caused BMS shares to fall by another 10% to a two-year low.
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Aug 2016: Shares in drug developer Bristol-Myers Squibb plunged by 20% after it admitted that its lung cancer drug Opdivo had failed to meet several goals in clinical trials for new treatment areas. It will continue to market the drug as a standalone therapy and in combination with stablemate Yervoy, but growth prospects for Opdivo were scaled back from their previous highs. The setback delivered a huge boost to rival drug Keytruda, marketed by Merck & Co. The two drugs have been competing fiercely for leadership in several cancer treatment areas, with BMS hitherto considered the clear winner. For the first six months of 2016, Opdivo generated sales of $1.5bn, almost three times Keytruda's tally. This setback will level the playing field somewhat, with analysts predicting a surge for Keytruda at Opdivo's expense. These are both still giant drugs - analysts expect Opdivo's sales to peak at over $10bn by 2025 (down from previous estimates of over $13bn), while Keytruda estimates were lifted from $5bn to almost $8bn.
Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Jan 2016: Bristol-Myers Squibb effectively pulled out of the HIV drug development market, by agreeing to sell all its pipeline products in that segment to rival ViiV Healthcare, a unit of GlaxoSmithKline. It will continue to market its current portfolio of approved HIV drugs including Sustiva, Reyataz and Atripla. The price of the deal could be up to $2.9bn depending on the future performance of the new drugs.
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