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Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY - Analyst Report) recently appointed Francis Cuss as its executive vice president and chief scientific officer. The arrangement is effective from Jul 1, 2013. Cuss will be taking over from Elliott Sigal, who will retire on Jun 30.

We note that Sigal occupied the post of Bristol-Myers’ chief scientific officer since 2004. Moreover, he has been on the company’s Board of Directors since 2011.

Cuss is also well experienced in the field of research and development (R&D). He joined Bristol-Myers in 2003.  Prior to joining Bristol-Myers, he worked in companies like Schering-Plough (now a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK - Analyst Report)) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK - Analyst Report).

At Bristol-Myers, Cuss was a member of the hugely successful R&D team under Sigal. Bristol-Myers boasts of a robust pipeline. Successful development of the pipeline is the key to Bristol-Myers’ growth following the genericization (in the US) of Bristol-Myers’ successful blood thinner Plavix in May 2012.

Consequently, we believe that Cuss has big challenges ahead. His impressive medical background and experience in R&D should stand him in good stead as he dons new responsibilities.

Bristol-Myers is looking to combat the generic threat hanging over its key drugs through partnering deals and acquisitions and introducing new products to augment its product portfolio. In Feb 2013, Bristol-Myers announced that it has inked a deal with Reckitt Benckiser Group plc for three years.

As per the terms of the deal, Reckitt Benckiser will get exclusive rights to commercialize several over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in Bristol-Myers’ portfolio targeting the Latin American markets (primarily Mexico and Brazil).

In Aug 2012, Bristol-Myers acquired Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in a bid to diversify its business to combat the generic threat and bolster its position in the lucrative diabetes market.

Bristol-Myers, a biopharmaceutical company, carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Stocks such as Array BioPharma, Inc. (ARRY - Snapshot Report) appear to be more favorably placed in the biopharma space. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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