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Bristol Myers (BMY) Gains 16% YTD: Will the Momentum Continue?

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Shares of Bristol Myers (BMY - Free Report) have jumped 16.1% in the year so far against the industry’s decline of 13.8%. Performance of key drugs and encouraging pipeline progress have impressed investors.

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The company’s growth engine Revlimid was added to Bristol-Myers’ portfolio with the Celgene acquisition. The drug has fueled top-line growth for the company. Market share gains in key markets and longer treatment duration contribute to the drug’s growth.

Another growth engine, Eliquis, has delivered a stellar performance in 2021, propelled by increases in share in the novel oral anticoagulant market. It is the leading oral anticoagulant drug, and the company continues to experience growth in both the Eliquis brand and market while also advancing its Factor XIa inhibitor program.

The performance of immuno-oncology drug Opdivo, approved for multiple cancer indications, revived after a slowdown early in 2021. Opdivo is one of the top revenue generators for BMY, and the continued label expansion of the drug for additional indications should further boost its growth potential.

The FDA recently approved a new, first-in-class, fixed-dose combination of PD-1 inhibitor Opdivo (nivolumab) and relatlimab (novel LAG-3-blocking antibody) administered as a single intravenous infusion for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age or older with unresectable or metastatic melanoma (a kind of skin cancer). The drug is approved under the brand name Opdualag.

The approval of these new drugs adds a revenue stream, which should boost growth in the coming quarters. The pipeline progress is steadily impressive, and strategic collaborations will further expand the portfolio.

In 2021, Bristol Myers obtained 20 approvals for new medicines and additional indications and formulations of currently marketed drugs in major markets, including regulatory approvals of Breyanzi and Abecma in hematology malignancies. The FDA approval of Zeposia for the treatment of adults with moderately to severely active UC has expanded the company’s portfolio in immunology. Bristol Myers is also developing deucravacitinib, its TYK2 inhibitor, for the treatment of psoriasis and other immune-mediated diseases. The successful development of the same will strengthen the company’s immunology portfolio.

BMY expanded its leading cardiovascular franchise with the addition of mavacamten from the acquisition of MyoKardia in 2020.

On the fourth-quarter earnings call, management stated that it expects approval of three key pipeline candidates in 2022 — mavacamten, deucravacitinib and relatlimab. Each of these assets should generate at least $4 billion of revenues at the end of the decade.

However, Revlimid is expected to face generic competition shortly. Competition is also stiff for Opdivo from the likes of Merck’s (MRK - Free Report) Keytruda. The drug, approved for various oncology indications, is the key driver for MRK.

The FDA recently approved Keytruda for the adjuvant treatment of patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) at intermediate-high or high risk of recurrence following nephrectomy or after nephrectomy and resection of metastatic lesions. Further, label expansion of the drug will boost Merck’s top line.

Bristol-Myers currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A few better-ranked stocks in the biotech sector are Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX - Free Report) and Kaleido Biosciences , both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The consensus estimate for Vertex’s 2022 earnings has increased $1.13 over the past 60 days to $14.52. Shares of VRTX have gained 14.8% in the past year.

Loss estimates for KLDO have narrowed to $1.64 from $2.13 for 2022 in the past 60 days. Earnings of Kaleido Biosciences surpassed estimates in three of the trailing four quarters and missed the same once.



 


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