Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca Look to Increase Sales of Bydureon
Bristol-Myers Squibb is expecting to boost sales of Amylin's Bydureon (exenatide) once it has completed the $5.3-billion purchase of the company, expanding the diabetes drug's presence in the U.S. with the help of partner AstraZeneca. "We think we can do much better now that we have the combined forces of the three companies," noted Giovanni Caforio, head of Bristol-Myers Squibb's US pharmaceutical business.
Alongside the acquisition of Amylin for $31 per share in cash, Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca announced that they will expand their existing diabetes alliance to include the development and marketing of Bydureon and other products gained through the deal. Caforio said he believes the US launch of Bydureon has been positive, with inroads among endocrinologists. The product generated first-quarter sales of $6.9 million. Caforio suggested that Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca will look to expand the prescriber base for the once-weekly GLP-1 inhibitor to primary-care physicians.
However, J.P. Morgan analyst Chris Schott said that Bydureon's initial uptake has lagged that of Novo Nordisk’s Victoza (liraglutide). The analyst suggested that combined annual sales of Bydureon and the once-daily version Byetta need to reach between $1.5 billion and $2 billion to justify the price Bristol-Myers Squibb is paying for Amlyin. He added that that target "is not out of the question." Annual sales of Byetta for 2011 reached $518 million.
Commenting on the acquisition, Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson noted that Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca were the two most logical buyers for Amylin. However, he said that the level of earnings accretion from Amylin will likely be modest for the acquiring companies and will probably not dramatically change the financial outlook for either drugmaker. Meanwhile, Standard & Poor said that they view the transaction as a logical extension of the current diabetes collaboration between Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca as they shared in the development costs and now share in the promotion of Onglyza (saxagliptin). The drugmakers also co-developed the diabetes treatment, Forxiga (dapagliflozin), which has been recommended for approval in Europe but failed to win US backing in January.