Bristol pays $400M for Abilify lifeline

Few drugmakers are expected to have a year as tough as Bristol-Myers Squibb's 2012. Like the Mayan calendar, time would run out in 2012 on two of Bristol's blockbuster meds: Plavix and Abilify. And voila! Some $7.8 billion in sales threatened.

Not anymore, though. Bristol has inked a deal to keep its partnership with Japan's Otsuka Pharmaceutical going until 2015. That means Bristol will be able to continue marketing Abilify for two and a half more years. The cost? $400 million up front for those licensing rights. The potential benefit? Sales collapse averted.

Under the deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, Bristol's share of Abilify sales will gradually drop to half from 65 percent. Meanwhile, the company will collaborate with Otsuka on two of its other marketed drugs, the cancer treatments Sprycel and Ixempra. Bristol expects the deal to add at least 30 cents per share to earnings in 2013 and 2014.

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