Bristol Myers posts better-than-expected 4th-quarter results

By Michael Erman

(Reuters) -Drugmaker Bristol Myers Squibb on Friday posted better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter as sales of its new anemia drug Reblozyl and its already off patent blood cancer drug Revlimid outperformed Wall Street forecasts.

Shares of the New Jersey-based company rose 3.5% to $50.36 in premarket trading.

The company, which announced a string of deals to restock its pipeline late last year, said its revenue was $11.48 billion in the fourth quarter. Analysts, on average, had expected revenue of $11.19 billion, according to LSEG data.

It said it earned $3.5 billion, or $1.70 a share, in the quarter, excluding certain one-time items, also ahead of analyst expectations of $1.53 a share.

Sales of Revlimid were $1.45 billion and Reblozyl were $320 million in the quarter, compared with analyst estimates of $1.27 billion and $280 million, respectively.

The company said it expects 2024 revenue to increase by single digit percentages from 2023, when total revenue was $45 billion. It expects its 2024 reported earnings in the range of $7.10 to $7.40 a share. Analysts, on average had forecast 2024 earnings of $7 a share.

Bristol Myers’ Chief Executive Chris Boerner ascended to that position in November right after the company pared back expectations for its existing new product portfolio.

He quickly inked a $14.1 billion deal to buy antipsychotic medicine maker Karuna Therapeutics as well as a $4.1 billion buyout of cancer drugmaker RayzeBio. Those deals followed a $5.8 billion deal in early October for another cancer company, Mirati, which closed last month.

“We did take a number of actions in the fourth quarter that will strengthen the company for long term sustainable growth, and we’re certainly working to accelerate the opportunities that we have in our hands today,” Chief Commercialization Officer Adam Lenkowsky said in an interview.

Bristol Myers expects to see lower sales later this decade for two of its top selling drugs, cancer immunotherapy Opdivo and blood thinner Eliquis, as they lose patent protection. Sales of Opdivo were $2.39 billion in the quarter, while Eliquis sales were $2.87 billion.

It has already been under pressure from generic competition for Revlimid, once its top-selling drug.

(Reporting by Michael Erman in New York and Bhanvi Satija in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonali Paul)