Bristol-Myers scores strong Q1

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Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has released its 2009 fiscal first quarter results, which show strong financial performance and the execution of two key strategic initiatives.

The New York City-based BMS posted first quarter 2009 net sales from continuing operations of $5 billion, an increase of 3 percent over the year-ago period in 2008. Broken down, BioPharmaceuticals net sales totaled $4.3 billion and sales from Mead Johnson Nutrition totaled $693 million in the first quarter of 2009, representing an increase of 3 percent and a decrease of 1 percent, respectively, compared to 2008.

"Our operating performance was excellent at both the top and bottom lines," said James M. Cornelius, BMS' chairman and CEO. "The collaboration agreement we signed with Otsuka gives us improved financial stability in the upcoming years, mitigating some of the volatility we would have otherwise experienced leading up to 2014. We also completed two more transactions that advanced our String of Pearls strategy--expanding our pipelines in virology and cardiology."

On April 6, BMS signed an deal with Otsuka Pharmaceutical to extend the U.S. portion of the companies' agreement for the development and commercialization of depression drug Abilify from the currently scheduled end date of November 2012, until the expected loss of exclusivity in April 2015. Through this collaboration extension, BMS is seeking to further build its 2013 and 2014 earnings base and address the expected loss of patent exclusivity on its antiplatelet blockbuster Plavix and its blood pressure drug Avapro.

For expenses, the company also reported that its marketing, selling and administrative expenses decreased by 6 percent to $1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008. Advertising and product promotion spending increased by 2 percent to $324 million in the first quarter of 2009, compared with the year-ago results. Finally, its research and development expenses increased by 18 percent to $923 million in the first quarter of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008, BMS said.

For its cardiovascular drugs, Plavix booked global net sales of $1.44 billion for the 2009 first quarter, a 10 percent increase over the previous year-ago quarter. The U.S. net sales for Plavix were $1.30 billion, compared with $1.14 billion in the first quarter of 2008, representing a 14 percent increase. Meanwhile, Avapro/Avalide decreased by 1 percent globally and in the U.S. for year-over-year results.