Bristol-Myers Profit Beats Analysts’ Estimates on Drug Sales

Apr 29, 2014 4:06 pm ET

(Updates shares in seventh paragraph.)

April 29 (Bloomberg) -- Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. reported first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates on demand for its top drug, the anti-psychotic Abilify, and cancer medicines Yervoy and Sprycel.

Net income rose to $936 million, or 56 cents a share, from $623 million, or 37 cents, a year earlier, aided by the sale of its share of a diabetes venture to partner AstraZeneca Plc, the company said today in a statement. Profit excluding one-time items of 46 cents a share topped the average of 43 cents from 17 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Bristol-Myers raised the bottom end of its forecast for 2014 earnings excluding certain items to $1.70 to $1.80 a share, from $1.65 to $1.80, as sales excluding the divested diabetes business rose 5 percent to $3.6 billion. Revenue from the blood thinner Eliquis, which the New York-based company sells with Pfizer Inc., jumped more than fourfold to $106 million, helped by direct-to-consumer commercials and U.S. approval for preventing blood clots after joint replacement surgery.

The company plans to start a rolling submission to the Food and Drug Administration for U.S. approval of nivolumab, one of its most-anticipated drugs, in hard-to-treat lung cancer patients. The application may be completed by the end of the year, later than some investors and analysts were expecting, said Timothy Anderson, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York. Data will be released in the next 12 to 18 months, Bristol-Myers said.

Productive Talks

“We had productive discussions with the FDA,” Chief Executive Officer Lamberto Andreotti said on a conference call today. “I feel very good about it.”

Bristol-Myers applied for FDA clearance earlier this month for compounds to treat hepatitis C and HIV. The hepatitis C therapy is a combination of daclatasvir and asunaprevir for patients with the most common strain of the virus in the U.S. and Europe. The HIV therapy includes the company’s protease inhibitor Reyataz in combination with the boosting agent cobicistat from Gilead Sciences Inc.

Bristol-Myers fell 2.1 percent to $49.32 at the close in New York. The shares have risen 24 percent in the past 12 months.

The company received $2.7 billion from London-based AstraZeneca in February for its share of the global diabetes business, plus an additional $600 million after the FDA approved Farxiga during the quarter. The drug’s approval in Japan generated another $100 million payment during the second quarter.

The drugmaker reported sales of Abilify increased 3 percent to $540 million in the quarter, topping analysts’ estimates of $513 million. Yervoy, the immune system-based treatment for skin cancer, rose 18 percent to $271 million. Sprycel, a leukemia treatment, gained 19 percent to $342 million.