BMS backs annual guidance despite 3% drop in Opdivo sales in Q1

Headline results for the first quarter:

  • Revenue: $11.1 billion (versus forecasts of $11.2 billion), up 3%
  • Profit: $2 billion, versus a loss of $775 million

Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

What the company said:

"It was a really strong quarter despite the challenging COVID-19 environment," commented Bristol Myers Squibb's chief financial officer David Elkins, noting that the pandemic mostly impacted products administered in medical centres, whereas treatments that could be taken at home remained resilient. Excluding COVID-19 related buying patterns in the prior-year period, the company said first-quarter revenues grew 8%.

Elkins suggested that the sales mix, particularly the outperformance in Eliquis versus higher margin Revlimid, which Bristol Myers Squibb gained through the takeover of Celgene in late 2019, accounted for most of the gap between the quarterly results and analysts' expectations.

Bristol Myers Squibb also highlighted advances in its cell therapy franchise during the quarter, with FDA approvals for Abecma and Breyanzi to treat blood cancers.

Other results:

  • Revlimid: $2.9 billion, up 1%, roughly $150 million shy of consensus estimates
  • Eliquis: $2.9 billion, up 9%, beating analyst expectations by about $300 million
  • Opdivo: $1.7 billion, down 3%, coming in below forecasts by about $150 million
  • Pomalyst/Imnovid: $773 million, up 8%
  • Orencia: $758 million, up 6%
  • Sprycel: $470 million, down 10%
  • Yervoy: $456 million, up 15%
  • Abraxane: $314 million, up 5%
  • Empliciti: $85 million, down 12%
  • Zeposia: $18 million, with the Celgene drug having been cleared by US and European regulators last year for patients with multiple sclerosis
  • Onureg: $15 million

Looking ahead:

Bristol Myers Squibb reaffirmed its 2021 profit forecast of $7.35 to $7.55 per share, with worldwide revenues increasing at a high-single-digit percentage rate. Meanwhile, Elkins believes Eliquis will continue its growth trend, while Opdivo is expected to return to growth in the second half due to anticipated approvals in new tumour types and its increasing use as a first-line treatment for advanced lung cancer.

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