The companies: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Otsuka Pharmaceutical
Worldwide sales: $5.501 billion
This antipsychotic drug, used for schizophrenia and other conditions, generates 85% of its sales in the U.S., where developer Otsuka shares the spoils with Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY). And those spoils have been substantial: $2.289 billion last year for New York-based BMS. That was down about 19% from the year before, but nothing like what is about to happen to them.
The drug goes off patent in the EU this year and then in the U.S. in April 2015 after the partners fought off a patent challenge from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) and Apotex. The drug makes up about 25% of sales for Japan-based Otsuka and nearly 14% for BMS. The companies have tried a number of the usual tricks, like copay coupons, to suck what revenues they can from the drug while they can, even fighting off a legal challenge to the coupons last year. Otsuka also teamed up with Danish drugmaker Lundbeck to develop a once-monthly version of Abilify. Called Abilify Maintena, it won approval in the U.S. and Europe last year. Bristol-Myers has no stake in the once-monthly version.
BMS has already been remaking itself since the loss of patent protection for megablockbuster blood thinner Plavix ripped through its financials. It has narrowed its focus, selling off its diabetes partnership with AstraZeneca ($AZN) for $4.1 billion and in November halting discovery work in hepatitis C and backing off of some R&D in neurosciences. Those moves helped it turn in better-than-expected results in the final quarter of last year.
Bristol-Myers impresses with trimmed-down costs, pumped-up sales
FDA pins approval on once-monthly version of blockbuster Abilify
Report: Schizophrenia drug sales are shrinking, but growth will return
Is the antidepressant glass half-empty or half-full?
-- Eric Palmer (email | Twitter)