Bristol-Myers beats the Street in Q2, but without much help from Opdivo

Bristol-Myers

Bristol-Myers Squibb didn’t come up with the monster beats it posted last quarter, but it came through in Q2 on both the sales and earnings fronts and raised guidance once again. But it wasn’t the usual suspects getting the job done.

Thursday, the New Jersey drugmaker announced results that Evercore ISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum labeled “reasonable,” with sales checking in at $4.87 billion--about 5% ahead of analyst estimates--and EPS that topped forecasts by 4.5% to reach 69 cents.

But the drivers for those beats were “different than what we expected,” as Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan put it in a note to clients. While sales of quick-launching Opdivo beat Wall Street’s predictions overall at $840 million, its $643 million stateside haul fell short of the anticipated $661.2 mark. Yervoy sales of $241 million were about 10% off of Wall Street’s expectations, too, and next-gen anticoagulant Eliquis, a key growth driver recently, didn’t turn out any surprises.

But “less strategically important” products such as chemo treatment Sprycel and HIV therapy Reyataz picked up the slack, Divan wrote, while Bristol’s hep C franchise continued to raise eyebrows, coming in $191 million above consensus with $546 million in sales to drive most of the top-line beat. That figure’s less surprising if you consider that Gilead recorded a similarly significant beat on Q2 revenues of Sovaldi, which can be prescribed with Bristol’s Daklinza, Schoenebaum noted.

But Bristol's hep C glory isn't likely to last, given hefty competition in the hep C arena from Gilead, AbbVie and newcomer Merck, Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson said. “This franchise continues to hold in fairly well, yet seems destined for a slow-down due to changing competitive dynamics,” he wrote in a Thursday note.

The Q2 performance was enough to help Bristol tweak its guidance for the year, if only modestly. It raised the midpoint by 2%, forecasting an EPS mark between $2.55 and $2.65; that’s up from a prior $2.50 to $2.60 prediction, and consensus currently pegs EPS at $2.57, Anderson wrote.

- read the release

Special Report: The top 15 pharma companies by 2014 revenue - Bristol-Myers Squibb

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