Bristol Myers sales fall, cuts 2023 forecast as drugs face competition

By Michael Erman

(Reuters) - Drugmaker Bristol Myers Squibb said on Thursday its second-quarter sales fell more than expected and cut its full-year forecast as two of its top drugs, blood cancer treatment Revlimid and blood thinner Eliquis, face generic competition.

The company now expects 2023 revenue to fall by low single digit percentages, primarily due to lower-than-expected Revlimid sales. It previously forecast a roughly 2% increase in revenue for the year.

Shares of the company fell nearly 3% to $61.55 in premarket trade.

Bristol Myers is in the midst of a leadership change, with CEO Giovanni Caforio expected to step down in November to be succeeded by Chief Operating Officer Christopher Boerner. Boerner will be under pressure to execute on the launch of new products as Revlimid, Eliquis and cancer immunotherapy Opdivo eventually face cheaper competition.

The company also announced plans to buy back $4 billion of its shares in the third quarter.

Revenue in the quarter fell to $11.23 billion from $11.89 billion a year earlier, missing analysts' average forecast of $11.8 billion.

Revlimid sales were $1.47 billion in the quarter, compared with analyst expectations of $1.67 billion, Bristol said, citing generic erosion as well as an increase in patients receiving free product from the company's patient assistance foundation. It cut its full year sales forecast for the drug, which began facing generic competition in the U.S. last year, by $1 billion to around $5.5 billion.

Sales of Eliquis, which Bristol Myers shares with Pfizer Inc, were $3.2 billion in the quarter, down 1% from last year, hurt by generic competition in Canada and the UK, and $200 million below analysts' forecasts.

Opdivo sales were $2.15 billion in the quarter, $150 million short of analyst estimates.

Bristol Myers said it earned $1.75 per share in the quarter, down from $1.93 a year ago and below analyst expectations of $1.96.

It cut its 2023 earnings per share forecast by 60 cents to a range of $7.35 to $7.65 a share. Analysts had expected the company to earn $7.99 a share for the year.

Shares of Bristol Myers closed at $63.41 on Wednesday, down about 12% this year, underperforming the NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical index, which is basically flat on the year.

(Reporting by Michael Erman; Additional reporting by Leroy Leo; Editing by Sonali Paul)
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