Bristol turns to blockbuster pipeline as Plavix goes generic

Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) has enticed other drugmakers to mimic its strategy of buying up mid-sized biotechs, and the New York-based pharma has seen some of those bets pay off with approvals of drugs such as Yervoy, acquired from Medarex ($MEDX). With clot-buster Plavix facing generic competition, the company is banking on some more wins in its pipeline to replace revenue from declining sales of its top seller.

Plavix sales slipped 4% in the first quarter to $1.69 billion, while sales of newer meds such as melanoma treatment Yervoy and hepatitis B drug Baraclude made solid gains, Bloomberg reported. And the news service provided some analysis on the role of the company's top pipeline prospects, which promise to enable Bristol to weather the loss of Plavix to generics if approved.

For starters, the FDA is expected to make a decision on approval of Eliquis, Bristol and Pfizer's ($PFE) potential blockbuster blood thinner, by June 28. In the meantime, analysts are keeping an eye on Bristol's progress in the development of oral treatments for hepatitis C that don't require injections of interferon. Bristol upped its stake in the oral hepatitis C race in January with the $2.5 billion buyout of Inhibitex ($IHNX), and recently the company hitched up with Johnson & Johnson and Medivir on an interferon-free combo therapy. 

"We want to understand how [HepC is] going to fit into things," Les Funtleyder, an analyst and portfolio manager at Miller Tabak & Co., told Bloomberg. "There's going to be some combination therapy, and it almost certainly requires some partnering, because not everybody's going to have all that's required."

- check out Bloomberg's article

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