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Bristol-Myers post-Plavix outlook exceeds views

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 5:17am
The Associated Press

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said Thursday it expects a profit of at least $1.95 per share in 2013, the first full year after its big-selling blood thinner Plavix faces generic competition in the U.S.

The forecast was a bit better than analysts expected for the company, which is seen as having the most to lose of any top drugmaker due to impending patent expirations.

Bristol-Myers shares rose 11 cents to $24.44 in morning trading.

Plavix is the second best selling prescription drug in the world, but its U.S. patent protection ends in November 2011.

Bristol-Myers got almost a third of its 2009 revenue from sales of Plavix — $6.15 billion out of a total of $18.81 billion — and the company is trying to offset those losses by acquiring promising biotech companies or drugs.

On average, analysts expect Bristol-Myers to earn $1.86 per share in 2013, with estimates ranging from $1.55 to $2.13 per share, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

The company, which is the 15th largest pharmaceutical maker in the world by revenue, said its forecast excludes any impact from a potential health care overhaul.

Low-cost generic versions of Plavix, or clopidogrel, are expected to reach the market early the next year. As a result, the New York drugmaker's profits are expected to decline over the next few years, with 2013 representing the low point. It expects growth to return in 2014.

Bristol-Myers plans to launch five other drugs by 2012. Those are the blood thinner apixaban, organ transplant drug belatacept, cancer drug brivanib, diabetes drug dapagliflozin, and skin cancer drug ipilimumab. It is also projecting greater sales of its newest drugs.

Aside from Plavix, its biggest selling drugs include Abilify for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Avapro for high blood pressure, Baraclude for hepatitis B and Reyataz and Sustiva for HIV.

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