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Bristol-Myers Squibb

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355 reviews

About Bristol-Myers Squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) may be a giant in transition, but its still a pharmaceutical giant. The company's blockbuster cardiovascular lineup includes heart disease drug Plavix and Avapro for hypertension. BMS also makes antipsychotic medication Abilify and HIV treatments Reyataz and Sustiva. Most of its sales come from products in the therapeutic – more... areas of cardiovascular care, immunoscience, metabolics, neuroscience, oncology, and virology. BMS has global R&D facilities and manufacturing plants, mainly in the US and Europe, and its products are marketed to health care practitioners, hospitals, and managed care providers in 100 countries.

Geographic Reach

BMS' major R&D facilities are in New Jersey and Connecticut, with other sites in the US, the UK, Belgium, India, and other countries. It has about a dozen manufacturing facilities, which are located in the US and Puerto Rico, France, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, and China.

Sales and Marketing

BMS sells its products globally, although US wholesale drug distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen account for about 60% of sales. In addition to wholesalers, the company also sells some products directly to customers including retailers, hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies. BMS employs a direct sales force in certain markets; it also uses independent marketing representatives.

Financial Analysis

The biggest story for BMS is the looming loss of US patent protection on its best selling drugs Plavix (33% of sales in 2011) and Avapro (5% of sales) in the first half of 2012. Because it doesn't have any surefire blockbuster drugs waiting in the wings to offset the losses, the company is pinning its future on harder-to-copy biopharmaceuticals. In addition, beginning in 2007 BMS launched a multi-year restructuring effort. It divested all of its non-pharmaceutical operations, shuttered or sold more than half of its manufacturing and packing facilities, and trimmed its workforce by at least 10%. 

Sales dropped in 2009 after a series of asset divestitures, but in 2010 and 2011 the company increased revenues by 4% (to $19.5 billion) and 9% ($21.2 billion), respectively. As a result of its restructuring efforts, BMS also reported improved profits in 2011, with net income rising 20% to $3.7 billion (after a sharp drop in profits during 2010).


To remake itself into a biopharmaceutical powerhouse, the company must first add more biopharmaceutical drugs and drug candidates to its pipeline. And, to give its plan more luster, BMS named it the string-of-pearls strategy. Since 2007 the company has completed almost a dozen licensing deals and major acquisitions in areas including hepatitis C, diabetes, and inflammatory disease.

Collaborations are also an important part of BMS' development and marketing strategy. The company not only works with other research organizations throughout the world, it also engages collaboratively with physicians, hospitals, and medical schools. Its R&D efforts are focused on areas of significant unmet medical need, including psychiatric, neurological, cardiovascular, metabolism, oncology, bacterial and viral infections, and inflammatory or immune system disorders. French drugmaker Sanofi manufactures and distributes several BMS products, including Plavix and Avapro. Japanese drug firm Otsuka Pharmaceutical co-promotes Abilify and certain oncology products. BMS also works to expand its offerings and fight off patent expiration losses by finding new uses of already approved drugs. For instance, BMS and Otsuka gained approval for Abilify as a treatment for bipolar disorder in 2011.

Recently approved drugs in the company's cabinet include Orencia (rheumatoid arthritis), Ixempra (cancer), and Emsam, (major depressive disorder). In 2011 the FDA approved its kidney transplant drug belatacept, marketed as Nulojix, and BMS launched Yervoy in the US and EU for treating adults with inoperable or metastatic melanoma as well as Onglyza/Kombiglyze for type 2 diabetes (developed with AstraZeneca). Late stage drugs in the BMS development pipeline include Eliquis for prevention of stroke, Dapagliflozin for treating diabetes, and oncology drug Brivanib, plus potential added indications for its key marketed products.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In 2012 BMS made a huge splash when it acquired Amylin Pharmaceuticals in a $7 billion deal ($5.3 billion in cash, plus $1.7 billion in debt and contractual obligations to Amylin's former partner Eli Lilly). The purchase added new diabetes drugs to BMS' offerings, including Byetta, Symlin, and Bydureon. As a follow-on to the deal, BMS and AstraZeneca extended their existing diabetes collaboration partnership to develop additional drugs based on Amylin's technologies; AstraZeneca paid Amylin some $3.2 billion to gain access to those R&D programs immediately after the BMS acquisition transaction closed.

Earlier in 2012 BMS completed another big dealpurchased drug developer Inhibitex for a whopping $2.5 billion. The purchase added Inhibitex's lead hepatitis C asset, INX-189 to its growing portfolio of HCV programs. Inhibitex's INX-189 is an oral nucleotide polymerase (NS5B) inhibitor that is in Phase II development. 

Earlier purchases include the 2011 acquisition of small-molecule pharmaceutical company Amira Pharmaceuticals in a deal worth up to $475 million including milestone payments. Through the deal, BMS gained Amira's two key research programs in inflammatory and tissue-scarring diseases. Amira's lead candidate, AM152, is in early clinical testing for pulmonary fibrosis, a fatal lung disease. In addition, BMS purchased development partner ZymoGenetics for some $885 million in 2010 to gain full access to their collaborative hepatitis C development program.  – less

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