Charlie Bancroft, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s CFO spoke at the Credit Suisse Healthcare Conference yesterday and said over the past two years the firm has evolved its R&D strategy to become “uniquely positioned as a specialty BioPharma company that is also diversified.”
Earlier this year the firm completed the sale of its half of a diabetes focused joint venture to AstraZeneca for $2.7bn (€2.1bn) and Bancroft said this, along with the loss of some of its legacy brands, has allowed BMS to refocus on developing immune-oncology biopharmaceuticals.
“If we go back in time just five years ago between marketed products and through the clinic, we had about 50% of our business was in biologics,” he told stakeholders (transcript here). This figure today has dropped to 40%, he continued, but said: “If I look forward three to five years, we’ll have roughly 75% of our portfolio would be in biologics.”
BMS’ cancer drug Yervoy (ipilimumab) – which saw sales in the third quarter 2014 of $350m, up 47% on the same period 2013 - was high-lighted as leading the way in the firm's portfolio of monoclonal antibodies, while the investigational PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, Opdivo (nivolumab), has recently hit regulatory milestones in the EU and US.
“These brands are really important to us because we are continuing to lose some of our legacy brands,” for example the small molecule antipschotic drug Abilify (aripiprazole) which the firm is in the process of giving back the rights to its partner Otsuka. “And then we’ve lost Baraclude in the US to generics and we continue to lose it across the globe.”
In July, BMS expanded a deal with Ono Pharmaceuticals to jointly develop and commercialise both Yervoy and Opidvo, while last year the company invested $250m in its biologics plant in Devens, Massachusetts to accommodate future production.
Bancroft also said the company was looking to allocate more capital for business development, following the recent acquisition of antibody developer iPierian.
“We believe that innovation must be sourced both internally and externally. We are open to any type of deal structure. In fact, this year we’ve done M&A, and we’ve done licensing, and we’ve done different deals with institutions, and we’ve done a number of collaborations.”