Bristol-Myers Squibb is forced to wave goodbye to Otezla

If Bristol-Myers Squibb was not facing enough investor disquiet over its $74bn takeout of Celgene, the FTC piled on even more misery today by ordering Bristol to ditch the psoriasis drug Otezla as a condition of getting the deal across the finish line. This is undoubtedly a blow, as seen by the 7% fall in Bristol shares in early trading. Otezla, Celgene's third-biggest drug, was one of the things that had made the pricey looking deal vaguely palatable. This leaves Bristol with BMS-986165 as its brightest hope in psoriasis and other inflammatory disorders. BMS-986165 is one of the most advanced Tyk2 projects in development today and, while phase II trials have suggested that it could even be better than Otezla, having the approved blockbuster on the books as well would have been preferable to investors. Bristol tried to put positive spin on the news today, reconfirming that the merger was still on, but with a delay. The transaction is now expected to close either at the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020, but those already questioning the move between the two groups will have even more ammunition.

Otezla versus BMS-986165
       Sales ($m)    
Product Company Mechanism of action 2018 2024e Phase First launch 
Otezla Celgene PDE4 inhibitor 1,608 2,402 Marketed April 2014
BMS-986165 Bristol-Myers Squibb Tyrosine kinase 2 inhibitor - 882 Phase III Dec 2021
Source: EvaluatePharma.

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