3. Bristol-Myers Squibb
2017 cancer sales: $8.52 billion
2024 cancer sales: $14.71 billion
Rank change: None
Once upon a time, industry watchers predicted that Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo would top Merck & Co.’s Keytruda to lead the class of PD-1/PD-L1 immuno-oncology drugs. These days, though, that time feels like a distant memory.
Thanks to a series of trial mishaps in the all-important previously untreated lung cancer field, Opdivo has fallen behind its archrival—and the fact that Keytruda has notched success after success in the clinic hasn’t helped BMS, either. Keytruda already boasts not one but two approvals in the lucrative first-line market, while some analysts recently said that Bristol-Myers may still be a year or more away from snagging one of its own.
That’s not to say the drug isn’t generating sales in plenty of other key markets. Its pairing with Bristol-Myers’ original checkpoint inhibitor, CTLA4 drug Yervoy, has helped both drugs pump up sales with approvals in areas such as previously untreated melanoma, previously untreated kidney cancer and more.
Outside the immuno-oncology realm, BMS boasts leukemia drug Sprycel and newer multiple myeloma contender Empliciti. While the myeloma space is particularly crowded—Johnson & Johnson’s Darzalex and Takeda’s Ninlaro won their first approvals right around the same time as Empliciti—Bristol-Myers and partner AbbVie are making headway. In August, the FDA bestowed its “breakthrough” tag on the drug as part of a cocktail that also features Celgene’s Pomalyst and low-dose dexamethasone, meant for relapsed and refractory patients who have received at least two prior treatments.