Bristol-Myers Squibb beats Street revenue, EPS estimates in Q4 as Eliquis surges

Bristol-Myers Squibb reported a 46% increase in Eliquis sales last year to $4.87 billion. (Image: BMS)

The same day Bristol-Myers Squibb reported a closely watched trial win for cancer combo Opdivo-plus-Yervoy in certain lung cancer patients, the drugmaker announced 2017 results, beating expectations with Opdivo and anticoagulant Eliquis. 

Eliquis sales jumped 46% for the year to $4.87 billion, with $2.88 billion of the haul coming from the U.S. The results come as BMS battles neck and neck with Johnson & Johnson and Bayer for market dominance with their new anticoagulants. Those partners market Xarelto. 

J&J reported $2.5 billion in U.S. Xarelto sales for the year, a 9% increase over last year. Bayer markets the drug elsewhere and hasn't yet reported its results for the year. 

Bristol's star checkpoint inhibitor contributed $4.95 billion in 2017, a 31% jump over the prior year. Sales for that med's chief rival, Keytruda from Merck, jumped 172% last year to $3.8 billion. Both companies are racing to rack up approvals and win market share in a field that continues to generate countless headlines.

RELATED: Bristol-Myers' Opdivo-Yervoy team scores coveted win in first-line lung cancer 

Meanwhile, BMS on Monday reported a trial success for its combo of Opdivo and Yervoy against chemo in first-line non-small cell lung cancer patients who have a high tumor mutation burden. Market watchers initially weren't impressed with the pair of developments at the drugmaker; BMS shares slipped 2% in mid-morning trading on Monday.

At $5.4 billion and 68 cents in EPS, BMS Q4 revenues beat consensus expectations by 2% and 1%, respectively, according to a note from Jefferies analyst Jeffrey Holford. 

For 2018, BMS is expecting low- to mid-single digit sales growth, a gross margin of 70% and slight decreases in SG&A and R&D expenses. The company is also projecting a 20% to 21% tax rate, compared to 21% for last year. The drugmaker took a one-time $2.9 billion charge in 2017 due to tax reform.