Just a year or two ago, analysts and investors were in a frenzy over the frantic race to develop a new set of hepatitis C drugs that promised to change the standard of care. Now, as the leaders in that race approach the first round of likely marketing approvals, a new R&D competition has grabbed analysts' feverish attention as the next big thing in biopharma. And the leading players in this field may once again be betting on a mega-blockbuster payoff.
Bristol-Myers Squibb has emerged, at least temporarily, as the leader in a race to develop the first new PD-1 drug to fight cancer.
Bristol-Myers Squibb's first-quarter earnings dropped 44%, on a 27% decline in sales. Fortunately, the $3.83 billion revenue line was only slightly worse than analysts expected, given generic competition for blockbuster heart drugs Avapro and Plavix.
EvaluatePharma researchers totted up sales for the last 5 years' worth of analysts' blockbuster picks--and found plenty of bad bets.
Hopes for a quick one-two punch against melanoma have hit a snag. A Phase I trial testing Bristol-Myers Squibb's Yervoy and Roche's Zelboraf in melanoma patients was stopped after signs of liver toxicity developed in several patients.
If AstraZeneca decides it needs a big acquisition to get out of the doldrums, it may find itself competing with Bristol-Myers Squibb. The Wall Street Journal reports that Bristol-Myers has been kicking tires around the industry, most recently at Biogen Idec.
Pharma faces a colossal conundrum of how to score more approvals without breaking the bank. The quants have exposed massive inefficiencies in the R&D groups of Big Pharma, but some companies have fared better than others. And a recent analysis ranks R&D chiefs based on the performance of their companies.
Skin cancer drugs from Roche and Bristol-Myers Squibb, which can provide some relief to patients with deadly skin cancers and which have big futures for sales, have finally made it past the U.K. price watchdog NICE. But this only came to pass after both companies offered undisclosed discounts to the National Health Service.
Watch out, oncology drugmakers. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has made a move that could crimp your ambitions for premium pricing. The leading hospital says it will exclude Sanofi's ($SNY) new colorectal cancer drug Zaltrap from its treament protocols--because its price is twice as high as competing treatments, but has proven no more effective than its rivals, namely Roche's ($RHHBY) Avastin.
Will Abraxane join the new gang of melanoma fighters?