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Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY - Free Report) recently announced that it has inked a collaboration agreement with Nordic Bioscience, a Danish company specializing in biomarker technologies. The partnership will focus on developing translational biomarkers and diagnostics for the evaluation of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in pre-clinical models of fibrotic diseases and in clinical settings.

A biomarker is a molecule that may be used to diagnose a disease, or predict disease progression and indicate response to therapy.

Bristol-Myers’ shares have underperformed the Zacks classified Large Cap Pharma industry so far this year. Shares of the company lost 9.4%, while the industry registered an increase of 5.4%.



Please note that Bristol-Myers has a robust pipeline of investigational compounds to address areas of high unmet need in fibrosis, including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). It has several candidates in early-to-mid-stage development for fibrotic diseases. Some candidates that deserve mention are pentraxin-2, LPA1 antagonist and PEG-FGF21.

Bristol-Myers is also highly active on the deal signing/acquisition front. The company is actively signing deals in therapeutic areas like oncology, fibrosis and genetically defined diseases. Earlier last week, Bristol-Myers entered into an agreement with Biogen (BIIB - Free Report) for an upfront payment of $300 million to license its anti-eTau compound, BMS-986168, for progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Under the licensing deal, Bristol-Myers will receive an additional $410 million as milestone payments and potential royalties.

Per the company’s press release, NASH is will likely be the leading cause of liver transplant by 2030. Approximately 20 million patients in the U.S. have NASH and there are currently no approved pharmacological treatments. No wonder, development of such technology will enable the company to cater to the huge unmet need of patients suffering from the disease.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Bristol-Myers currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector are Heska Corporation (HSKA - Free Report) and Galena Biopharma, Inc. (GALE - Free Report) . Each of these stock sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Heska’s earnings per share estimates increased from $1.53 to $1.65 for 2017 and from $1.90 to $2.01 for 2018 over the last 60 days. The company posted positive surprises in three of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 291.54%.

Galena’s loss per share estimates narrowed from $1.12 to 58 cents for 2017 and over the last 30 days. The company posted positive earnings surprises in two of the four trailing quarters, with an average beat of 53.83%.

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