Yervoy, Sprycel, Eliquis jumps help Bristol-Myers beat Q3 estimates

The patent cliff may still be taking a toll on Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), but the company's Q3 sales haul was enough to impress analysts thanks to star performances from a few key new products.

Third-quarter EPS came in at $0.43, Bristol-Myers announced Friday, beating the Street's estimate by a cent. Meanwhile, a $3.92 billion top-line haul exceeded analysts' expectations by $12 million, despite a 4% year-over-year revenue drop.

For that, the drug giant has a host of newer therapies to thank--namely melanoma-fighter Yervoy, leukemia treatment Sprycel, new-age anticoagulant Eliquis and rheumatoid arthritis med Orencia. Yervoy, whose sales swelled by 47% to $350 million, and Sprycel, which saw a 22% leap to $385 million, were the biggest growers. But an 18% sales hike for Orencia and a $175 million year-over-year jump for Eliquis--which got off to a slow start behind Bayer and Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Xarelto and Boehringer Ingelheim's Pradaxa--were welcome, too.

Bristol-Myers Squibb CEO Lamberto Andreotti

"Our financial results in the third quarter reflect our continued focus on balancing long-term growth with short-term performance, as we achieved significant progress in our pipeline and saw strong in-market performance for key products," CEO Lamberto Andreotti said in a statement.

The next step will be returning to growth, and the company thinks it has the prospects to do just that. The weight will fall on PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab, already approved in Japan as Opdivo, and a hepatitis C dual regimen of Daklinza and Sunvepra that Bristol-Myers recently announced it won't launch in the U.S. If and when nivolumab launches in the U.S., it will have Merck's ($MRK) newly approved Keytruda immunotherapy to contend with.

But Andreotti, for one, is optimistic. "We continue to build a solid foundation for our future," he said in a statement.

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