JPM23: BMS touts 'diversified' portfolio as launches kick into gear and old drugs near patent cliff

After several years of turning out solid growth, Bristol Myers Squibb knows it’s nearing a patent cliff that’ll wreak havoc later this decade. Still, the company believes a “diversified” portfolio—across multiple therapeutic areas and drug modalities—will help it weather the storm.

With CEO Giovanni Caforio recovering from COVID-19, BMS Chief Commercialization Officer Chris Boerner, Ph.D., took the stage at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Monday to deliver the company’s update. To hear Boerner tell it, diversification is key to BMS’ next phase of growth as the New York pharma embarks on new launches.

Still, business development remains a “top priority" for the pharma giant, the executive said.

Against the backdrop of upcoming drug pricing negotiations under the Inflation Reduction Act in the mid-2020s, BMS has a “younger” and “increasingly diversified” portfolio, Boerner told the audience in the grand ballroom at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco. That set of diverse offerings will be critical as the company navigates the uncertainties around the new law, Boerner said.

BMS introduced nine new medicines between 2020 and 2022. In 2022 alone, the company rolled out three first-in-class therapies in three different disease areas—Opdualag for melanoma, Camzyos for obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and Sotyktu for plaque psoriasis.

BMS considers its new product portfolio “significantly de-risked” and expects the group to deliver $10 billion to $13 billion by 2025.

For first-in-class myosin inhibitor Camzyos, BMS thinks the drug could eventually pull down more than $4 billion in peak sales. As of the end of 2022, the company has increased the number of physicians who’re certified to prescribe Camzyos under an FDA-mandated safety program to 2,600 from about 2,000 at the end of September, according to Boerner’s presentation.

Meanwhile, targeting Amgen’s Otezla in the oral plaque psoriasis treatment space, BMS launched TYK2 inhibitor Sotyktu in September. The once-daily BMS drug beat twice-daily Otezla in improving skin clearance in clinical trials, and Boerner touted its “clean label,” without a boxed warning, as a win for BMS.

In its first few months on the market, Sotyktu quickly captured 25% to 30% of new oral drug prescriptions, Boerner said. The fast uptake puts BMS in a much better position to negotiate better reimbursement deals in 2023 and 2024, he added.

Elsewhere in BMS' portfolio, the company is battling the loss of exclusivity of blood cancer stalwart Revlimid and is gearing up for major patent losses for PD-1 inhibitor Opdivo and Pfizer-shared blood thinner Eliquis toward the latter half of the decade. The early performance for its new products makes BMS “feel very good” about the portfolio’s ability to compensate for those patent losses and to “meaningfully contribute” to the company’s long-term growth, Boerner said.

Looking ahead, BMS expects further growth across its portfolio in 2023. Areas of potential expansion include a planned U.S. filing of ROS1 inhibitor repotrectinib, which BMS picked up last year through its acquisition of Turning Point Therapeutics. The company is also looking to move BCMA-targeted CAR-T therapy Abecma into earlier multiple myeloma treatment based on readouts from the KarMMa-3 trial, which is the first randomized phase 3 study of a BCMA CAR-T.

Striking deals has been a key strategy for BMS in the past few years. By BMS’ estimates, about 50% of its revenue in 2030 will come from acquisitions, starting with the $74 billion takeover of Celgene back in 2019. All those deals helped BMS develop the “scientific, financial and executional skills” to carry out more transactions, Boerner said.

Going forward, business development will continue to be a “top priority” at BMS, and the new products are giving BMS “considerable firepower” to go after external assets, Boerner said.