BMS details new Japan hit to hep C sales

Bristol-Myers Squibb CEO Giovanni Caforio

Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) continues to take it on the chin in Japan in hepatitis C sales even as its global performance continues to handle the competition.

Giovanni Caforio, CEO, said on the Jan. 28 earnings call that "we all know this is a very competitive and high-ended dynamic market. We do expect new competition to have an impact on our business, as we are already seeing in Japan."

Charles Bancroft, executive vice president and chief financial officer, was left to give those details on Japan.

"Sales for our hepatitis C portfolio were $458 million, with most of the sales coming from Daklinza. In Japan, we had sales of $80 million, which is down significantly from Q3 sales of $175 million as recent trends reflect the pressure from new regimens that have entered the market."

Still on a global basis, fourth quarter sales reached $458 million, $82 million above consensus estimates.

BMS faces competition from Gilead Sciences ($GILD) and AbbVie ($ABBV) in Japan after grabbing a head start there, as well as other countries in an increasingly complex global market that sees heavyweight China lacking an approved state-of-the-art treatment hep C therapy.

BMS is working on clinical trials in China for a combo of Daklinza (daclatasvir) and Sunpreva (asunaprevir). China's HCV Prevention and Treatment Guideline recommends daclatasvir for treatment, but the drug is not expected to qualify for approval until 2018.

China's Ascletis Pharmaceuticals is also in the race to bring a candidate to approval there, possibly by 2017.

Separately, Gilead is in talks with China on pricing for still-unapproved Sovaldi. China stands outside of a developing country access program by Gilead that relies heavily on manufacturing and sales licensed to mostly India-based companies.

- here's the release