Bristol Myers holds on to blockbuster Sotyktu hopes, plays down Otezla threat

By winning three first-in-class drug approvals, Bristol Myers Squibb certainly delivered on its plans in 2022.

Throughout the year, the company added melanoma treatment Opdualag, obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy drug Camzyos and, most recently, Sotyktu for plaque psoriasis, to its product portfolio. Now, it's busy working to make the most of the rollouts.

And it’s just the beginning of the road for the trio, executives said on the company's fourth-quarter earnings call Thursday.

So far for Sotyku, the reception has been “very, very good," Chief Commercialization Officer Chris Boerner, Ph.D., said on a Thursday conference call.

The drug had garnered more than 2,000 prescriptions as of the end of November since its approval in September, he noted. Sotyku's market share in the oral moderate to severe psoriasis market stands at roughly 12%. Now, BMS is doing “everything we can” to accelerate formulary access, Boerner said.

As for the competition in Amgen’s Otelza, BMS "doesn't see" the established drug hurting Sotyku's uptake, Boerner said. Sotyktu trumped Otezla in clinical testing, bolstering BMS' belief that the competition is not seen as a “particular barrier.”

BMS actually sold Otezla to Amgen as a part of antitrust requirements when it bought Celgene. Later, BMS' Sotyku, then known as deucravacitinib, bested Otezla in clinical testing.

Overall during the fourth quarter, BMS generated $11.4 billion in revenues, down 5% because of currency effects and generic competition for products such as multiple myeloma treatment Remlivid. That drug, once BMS' top seller, posted a 22% sales decline last year, falling to $9.9 billion in sales.

Elsewhere, blood thinner Eliquis took the BMS sales crown in 2022, generating $11.79 billion, a 10% increase.

BMS is in the process of transitioning its portfolio to be “younger, more diversified and more resilient” in the face of an “increasingly complex” pricing environment both in the U.S. and overseas, CEO Giovanni Caforio said on Thursday's call.

In 2023, BMS expects to post a revenue increase of 2%. The company expects more growth to come later this decade when some of its new launches, including Sotyku, are expected to become blockbusters.