Bristol-Myers hits estimates for the quarter but still faces tough going

Facing a generic onslaught next month for its best-selling Plavix, Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) managed to bring in earnings that at least met expectations.

The company reported $1.1 billion in net income, up 12%, or 64 cents a share, hitting on the head what analysts had predicted, Bloomberg reports.

Its attempt to fill in behind Plavix with a big acquisition was short-circuited last month, when Amylin Pharmaceuticals ($AMLN) roundly rejected Bristol's $3.5 billion offer to get hold of its once-a-day diabetes treatment Bydureon. Its run at Amylin followed the rejection by the FDA in January for its own diabetes treatment, dapagliflozin, which it is developing with AstraZeneca ($AZN). More data was sought, and the drug may yet get approval in the U.S. and Europe.

Having been rebuffed by Amylin, Bristol still has a strategy. In January, it spent $2.5 billion to acquire Inhibitex and its hepatitis C drug. And last week it announced an agreement to test hepatitis treatments with Medivir AB ($MVIRB) and Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ).

Responding to that deal, Les Funtleyder, an analyst and portfolio manager with Miller Tabak & Co., asked the question on everyone's mind. "It's pretty clear after last week that Bristol's going to be a player in the segment, but what time frame and in what way can we expect?"

- here's the Bloomberg story