Market Overview

Merck's Keytruda Gains Momentum At The Expense Of Bristol-Myers

Merck's Keytruda Gains Momentum At The Expense Of Bristol-Myers

Analyzing the monthly immuno-oncology sales data, Leerink said Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK)'s Keytruda is picking up speed, but Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE: BMY)'s Opdivo is flattish.

Immuno-Oncology Market On Strong Wicket

Analyst Richard Goss noted that Symphony Health sales showed that overall U.S. immuno-oncology sales rose 5 percent month-over-month in December, which he termed as a good performance. Merck's Keytruda and Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (OTC: RHHBY)'s Tecentriq drove the growth, with 14 percent and 13 percent growth, respectively, the analyst added. According to the analyst, these two drugs are continuing to gain share at the expense of Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo, which saw an anemic 2 percent growth in December.

Keytruda To Dominate Next 2–3 Years

For the fourth quarter, Leerink noted that Symphony's sales estimate for Opdivo is $741 million compared to Keytruda's $267 million. The firm believes the acceleration into December bodes well for Keytruda. Consequently, Leerink expects Keytruda to dominate this setting at least during the next two to three years on the back of Merck's successful development and filing strategies.

Opdivo Has More Aces Up Its Sleeve

Following Keytruda and Tecentriq's recently approved non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLS, indications, Leerink noted that both continue to gain share. However, the analyst believes Opdivo's newer indications , such as renal cell carcinoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, head and neck cancer, and likely bladder cancer would offset some of the trend.

Additional Opdivo Opportunities Factored In Consensus Estimate

Additionally, Leerink thinks OUS Opdivo sales not captured by the Symphony data would be strong, helping Bristol-Myers Squibb in the fourth quarter and throughout 2017. The firm also pointed to the management's statement that it would recognize deferred revenues from France in the fourth quarter of 2016 and that the uptake in Germany and France has been as swift as in the United States. Though the firm expects additional revenues for the company in the fourth quarter, it feels the possibility is already incorporated in the consensus Opdivo sales estimates.

At Time Of Writing

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb was losing 1.55 percent to $48.78.
  • Merck was slipping 0.34 percent to $60.87.
  • Roche ADR was adding 0.99 percent to $29.70.

Image Credit: By Montgomery County Planning Commission (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Latest Ratings for BMY

Aug 2019UpgradesNeutralOverweight
Jun 2019MaintainsNeutral
May 2019Initiates Coverage OnBuy

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