BMY’s Orencia Has Been Approved to Treat Methotrexate-Naive Patients




Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) Orencia (abatacept) is the only biologic approved for three different modes of administration (IV infusion, prefilled syringes, and autoinjectors) for treating moderate to severe RA (rheumatoid arthritis). Orencia is also approved for treating juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

In 3Q16, Orencia’s revenues grew 18% to $572 million. Of this amount, US sales stood at $387 million, while non-US sales were $185 million. Along with the higher demand for the drug, increased net selling prices during the period helped the drug witness strong growth.

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For treating adult RA, Orencia can be used either as monotherapy or along with DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs), excluding anti-TNFs (tumor necrosis factors). Major biologics for treating RA include AbbVie’s (ABBV) Humira, Amgen’s (AMGN) Enbrel, and Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) Remicade.

On September 6, the European Commission approved Orencia’s intravenous and subcutaneous injection to be used in combination with methotrexate for treating highly active and progressive RA in methotrexate-naive patients. During July 2016, Bristol launched its Orencia ClickJect Autoinjector for treating RA.

Orencia revenue projections

For 2016, Wall Street analysts project that Orencia will fetch nearly $2.3 billion while in 2017, the drug’s revenues are expected to grow to nearly $2.5 billion. With this revenue growth, the drug’s contribution to Bristol’s total revenues should be around 12% for both 2016 and 2017.

If you want exposure to a growth stock like Bristol, you can invest in ETFs for diversified exposure with reduced company-specific risks. One option would be the Health Care SPDR ETF (XLV), which has 65.8% of its assets in the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sector. XLV invests ~3.5% of its total assets in Bristol.


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