Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) makes drugs for the brain, heart, and other body parts. The biopharmaceutical's blockbuster lineup includes rhemuatoid arthritis treatment Orencia and ELIQUIS for stroke prevention. BMS also makes antipsychotic medication Abilify and HIV treatments Reyataz and Sustiva. Most of its sales come from products in the therapeutic areas of cardiovascular care, hepatitis, immunology, metabolics, neuroscience, oncology, and virology. BMS has global research facilities and manufacturing plants, mainly in the US and Europe, and its products are marketed to health care practitioners, hospitals, and managed care providers in 100 countries.
Following the patent expirations of key products Plavix (a blood thinner) and Avapro (a hypertension medication), BMS is pinning its hopes on rising sales of newer medicines in fields including neurology, metabolism, and oncology. Products showing promising growth include its hepatitis C franchise, ELIQUIS, and Opdivo. Abilify sales represented 13% of BMS' revenues in 2014, but those sales dropped 63% in 2015 when the company lost its exclusive rights to the drug in the US and in most international markets. Sales of biologic medicines (made using live proteins such as antibodies) -- including rheumatoid arthritis medicine Orencia -- are also on the rise. In 2015, Orencia, ELIQUIS, Sprycel, and the hepatitis C franchise each represented about 10% of total revenues.
BMS is determined to keep pumping out new medicines from its pipeline: The company is investigating Prostvac as an anti-cancer treatment.
While the company serves a global customer base, the US market accounts for about half of its annual revenues. BMS' major research and development facilities are in New Jersey and Connecticut, with other sites in the US, the UK, Belgium, India, Japan, and other countries. It has about a dozen manufacturing facilities, which are located in the US and Puerto Rico, France, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, and China.
Sales and Marketing
US wholesale drug distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen together account for about 50% of annual sales. In addition to wholesalers, the company also sells some products directly to customers including hospitals, clinics, physicians and nurse practitioners, government agencies, pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and managed-care organizations (MCOs). BMS employs a direct sales force in certain markets; it also uses independent marketing representatives. Some products are sold through partnerships with other drugmakers, including Sanofi (Plavix and Avapro) and Gilead Sciences (HIV drugs Atripla and Sustiva).
Annual advertising expense of some $825 million goes towards television, radio, print, and digital promotion activities, which target consumers, medical professionals, benefit managers, and managed care organizations.
The biggest financial story for BMS has been the loss of patent protection on a number of its bestselling drugs, including Plavix, Avapro, and Abilify. Due to these recent losses, revenue took a hit in 2012, 2013, and 2014. However, growth of other products including Opdivo, ELIQUIS, and the hepatitis C franchise helped boost revenues in 2015. That year, revenue recovered a modest 4% to $16.6 billion; US sales rose 6% on the launches of Opdivo and Daklinza, as well as growing demand for Sprycel, while international sales rose 20% on the launch of a Daklinza/Sunvepra dual regime in Japan. Rising demand for ELIQUIS around the world also helped earnings.
However, net income continued its downward trajectory that year, falling 22% to $1.6 billion. Increased expenses related to research and development, the acquisitions of investigational compounds, and the establishment of new alliances contributed to the drop in profits. Cash flow from operations has also been slipping; in 2015 it fell 42% to $1.8 billion, primarily due to the decrease in net income as well as an increase in cash used towards accounts payable.
To remake itself into a biopharmaceutical powerhouse, the company has engaged in its string-of-pearls pharmaceutical strategy, which aims to add harder-to-copy biotech drugs and drug candidates to its pipeline. The company's R&D efforts are focused on areas of significant unmet medical need, including psychiatric, neurological, cardiovascular, metabolism, oncology, bacterial and viral infections, and inflammatory or immune system disorders. Collaborations are an important part of BMS' development and marketing strategy. BMS also works to expand its offerings and fight off patent expiration losses by finding new uses of already approved drugs.
In the oncology arena, BMS has been investing in the development of Opdivo, which was approved for metastatic melanoma in the US in late 2014 and has since been approved in more than 40 countries. The company is collaborating with others to expand Opdivo's usage, and it is continuing to invest in its pipeline of additional cancer treatments. In 2014, BMS entered into an agreement with F-Star Alpha that provides the company with an exclusive option to buy F-Star and its FS102 candidate for the treatment of breast and gastric cancer. And in 2015 the company acquired biotechnology firm Flexus, which is focused on the discovery and development of novel anti-cancer treatments.
In virology, the company is building on the success of its hepatitis C franchise, which brought in some $1.6 billion in revenue in 2015. That franchise has done well since the 2014 introductions of Daklinza and Sunvepra. In terms of cardiovascular treatments, an area in which the company has historically been a strong performer, ELIQUIS brought the company some $1.9 million in 2015. That year, BMS bought heart drug specialist Cardioxyl Pharmaceuticals for $300 million and up to $1.8 billion in milestone payments.
Approvals for new products are important for any biopharmaceutical to replace older medications facing generic competition. BMS received US FDA approval of its Evotaz HIV tablet and its Opdivo injection treatment in 2015. Opdivo was also approved in Europe that year. Yervoy, a treatment for cutaneous melanoma, was approved in the US and Japan in 2015; US approvals for multiple myeloma treatment Empliciti and new indications for the hepatitis C franchise also passed.
BMS divested its diabetic business in early 2014. The following year, it divested its Ixempra business. The company then sold its pipeline of investigational HIV medications to ViiV Healthcare in 2016.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Acquisitions are a major piece of BMS' growth goals. In 2014 the company acquired iPierian, a biotechnology firm focused on finding new treatments for the tauopathies category of neurodegenerative disease. That deal provided BMS with full rights to IPN007, a preclinical monoclonal antibody.
In 2015 the company acquired biotechnology firm Flexus, which focuses on discovering novel anti-cancer treatments. Also that year, BMS acquired heart drug specialist Cardioxyl Pharmaceuticals.
In mid-2016 BMS bought Swedish firm Cormorant Pharmaceuticals, gaining access to its HuMax-IL8 antibody program and boosting its immuno-oncology pipeline.