USA — Bristol Myers Squibb, a prominent pharmaceutical company, has recalibrated its sales expectations for its newer medicines, signaling a more gradual revenue growth trajectory in the coming years compared to its previous projections.

The company now foresees its new product portfolio generating over US$10 billion in revenue by 2026, a revision from its previous estimate of between US$10 billion and US$13 billion by 2025.

This adjustment was accompanied by the release of the third-quarter earnings report, which unveiled a 2% decrease in revenue compared to the same period in 2022.

The dip in revenue was largely attributed to the declining sales of the company’s cancer drug Revlimid, as it faces competition from generic counterparts in both the U.S. and Europe.

In an effort to counteract the impact of decreasing Revlimid sales, Bristol Myers has pinned its hopes on new drugs, including the anemia treatment Reblozyl, heart therapy Camzyos, and multiple sclerosis medicine Zeposia.

However, the recent alteration in guidance is significant, and it prompted a more than 4% drop in the company’s share price.

While the decline in Revlimid sales was expected, the sales performance of Bristol Myers’ new products fell below analyst forecasts.

Notably, sales of Reblozyl, Camzyos, and cancer cell therapy Abecma failed to meet expectations.

Abecma experienced a 13% reduction in sales between July and September compared to the same period the previous year, primarily due to competition from a rival cell therapy by Johnson & Johnson and Legend Biotech.

Bristol Myers also faced manufacturing challenges with Abecma, although the company has made progress in resolving these issues.

On a more positive note, Sotyku, a new psoriasis pill approved late last year, exceeded consensus forecasts in the third quarter, according to a note from David Risinger of Leerink Partners.

Nevertheless, Christopher Boerner, Bristol Myers’ commercial head, conveyed that while sales of Camzyos and Sotyktu have seen growth, it has been slower than initially anticipated. Abecma and Zeposia have fallen short of expectations.

Boerner emphasized the company’s determination to build on the momentum of its third-quarter performance and to accelerate growth where necessary.

In addition to the challenges with Revlimid, Bristol Myers faces the potential impact of U.S. government negotiations on the Medicare prices of Revlimid and Pfizer’s blood thinner Eliquis.

The company has taken legal action to challenge the government’s new program, which was introduced under the Inflation Reduction Act of last year.

The recent earnings call marked the final one for Bristol Myers CEO Giovanni Caforio, who is retiring on November 1. Leadership of the company will be handed over to Boerner.

Caforio’s final act as CEO was the announcement of Bristol Myers’ proposed US$4.8 billion acquisition of cancer drug developer Mirati Therapeutics, which is expected to bolster the company’s position in the field of oncology.

Mirati’s lung cancer drug, Krazati, is particularly attractive due to its U.S. approval for the treatment of tumors driven by mutations in the cancer-related gene KRAS.

The drug competes with a similar one from Amgen. While Amgen has had an advantage in the market, Mirati is gaining ground, accounting for 40% of new prescriptions in the treatment setting where both drugs are used.

Both companies are working to expand the approval of their drugs into earlier treatment stages and combination therapies.

Bristol Myers’ reliance on newer drugs, such as Camzyos and Sotyku, is crucial as two of its current top-sellers, Opdivo and Eliquis, are set to lose patent protection in the second half of the decade, putting significant revenue at risk.

Additionally, Eliquis was one of the first 10 drugs targeted for Medicare price negotiations, which were granted new authority through the Inflation Reduction Act, despite strong opposition from the pharmaceutical industry.

The company’s acquisition of Turning Point Therapeutics and its targeted cancer treatment further underlines its commitment to the oncology sector.

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