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Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Role in the Multiple Myeloma Market

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Relapsed refractory multiple myeloma market

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) and AbbVie’s (ABBV) MM (multiple myeloma) drug, Empliciti, in combination with Celgene’s (CELG) Revlimid and dexamethasone, received approval from the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) on November 30, 2015. The drug, which was launched in the US in 4Q15, targets MM patients who have received at least one prior therapy.

In its Phase 3 clinical trials, Empliciti combined with Revlimid and dexamethasone managed to demonstrate a two-year, progression-free survival rate of about 41%—higher than what was demonstrated by a Revlimid and dexamethasone combination alone, which is around 27%.

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As the first immuno-oncology agent in the MM space—and having demonstrated high efficacy in clinical trials—Empliciti managed to secure broad health insurance coverage in a short period of time. The sales team has also been actively involved in creating awareness for the drug in the target population.

Sales projections

Wall Street analysts expect that the drug’s sales will be ~$167.9 million in 2016 and will rise to $427.1 million in 2017. With competitive drugs from Merck (MRK) and Novartis in the relapsed refractory MM space, Empliciti is expected to witness reduced demand in 2016. However, in the first half of 2016, the drug managed to reach its indicated population. Empliciti was prescribed for second-line and other lines of relapsed refractory MM patients.

The strong performance of Empliciti, despite competitive pressures, could boost Bristol-Myers Squibb’s share prices as well as those of the iShares Russell 1000 ETF (IWB). Bristol-Myers Squibb makes up about 0.45% of IWB’s total portfolio holdings.

In the next and final part, we’ll explore the growth trends of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s anti-coagulant drug, Eliquis.

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