Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY Quick Quote – ) reported fourth quarter 2021 earnings, while sales exceeded expectations for strong performance from Eliquis and Opdivo.

Earnings per share for the fourth quarter were $1.83, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate and up from $1.46 reported in the year-ago quarter.

Total revenues of $11.98 billion exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $11.96 billion and increased 8% year-over-year. The year-over-year increase was driven by blood thinner Eliquis, immuno-oncology and new product offerings.

The company's share price has risen 4.1 percent over the past year, while the company's shares have fallen 38 percent.

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Quarterly Details

Revenue in the U.S. grew 11 percent to $7.5 billion. Revenue in foreign countries increased 4 percent. Adjusting for the impact of foreign exchange, revenue outside the U.S. grew 7 percent.

Myeloma drug Revlimid contributed $3.3 billion in revenue and was Bristol-Myers Squibb's largest revenue generator. However, sales grew only 1 percent in the quarter.

Eliquis maintained the company's momentum with sales increasing 18% to $2.7 billion. We note that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer (PFE Quick Quote – ) have entered into a collaboration agreement for Eliquis.

The two companies partnered for Eliquis in 2007. According to the study, Pfizer financed 50 to 60 percent of all development costs. Profits and losses are shared equally worldwide, except for certain countries where Pfizer commercializes Eliquis and pays for BMY sales.

Sales of Opdivo, an immuno-oncology drug approved for multiple cancer indications, increased 11 percent year-over-year to $2.0 billion. Sales growth resumed in the second half of the year after a slowdown in early 2021. Sales were driven by label expansion of the drug.

Sales of Orencia, a rheumatoid arthritis drug, were flat at $864 million.

Sales of Pomalyst, another MM drug, were $854 million, up 2% year-over-year.

Sales of Sprycel, a leukemia drug, were down 2 percent to $555 million. Melanoma drug Yervoy contributed $545 million in revenue, up 16 percent.

Abraxane sales were $305 million, up 3 percent year-over-year.

MM Drug Empliciti sales were $81 million, down 11 percent year-over-year.

Sales of new drugs such as Rebrozyl were $151 million, up 31 percent year-over-year. Sales of CAR T-cell therapy Breyanzi were $40 million and Abecma sales were $63 million. Inrebic generated $20 million in sales. Onureg sales were $25 million and Zeposia sales were $48 million.

Adjusted R&D expenses increased 3% to $2.6 billion

During the quarter, this was primarily due to higher costs associated with investments in the overall portfolio. Adjusted marketing, selling and administrative expenses decreased 5 percent. Gross margin increased to 80.3 percent from 79.8 percent in the quarter.

2021 Results

Revenue was $46.4 billion, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate and up 9 percent from 2020. Earnings per share increased 17 percent to $7.51, exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate by one cent.

2022 Guidance

Bristol-Myers Squibb expects earnings of $7.65-$7.95 in 2022. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings is $7.83 per share.

Critical Pipeline Updates

The FDA has extended the review of the New Drug Application (NDA) for mavacamten for the treatment of patients with symptomatic obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (oHCM) until April 28, 2022, to allow sufficient time to review the information strategy (REMS) associated with the proposed risk assessment mitigation update.

The FDA has accepted for priority review a supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for Rebrozyl for the treatment of anemia in adults with non-transfusion dependent (NTD) beta thalassemia. The FDA has set a target action date of March 27, 2022. ema has also validated Rebrozyl for use in the type II variant of NTD beta thalassemia.

In November, BMY announced that three regulatory applications for pipeline candidate deucravacitinib have been accepted for review. The FDA has accepted that the NDA, EMA has validated the marketing authorization application for deucravacitinib for the treatment of adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. The FDA has assigned a target action date of September 10, 2022. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has also accepted the NDA for deucravacitinib for the treatment of adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, pustular psoriasis and erythrodermic psoriasis.

Our view

Bristol-Myers Squibb's performance in the fourth quarter of 2021 was encouraging as key drugs Revlimid, Eliquis and Opdivo maintained the company's momentum. New drug approvals added new revenue streams, which will fuel growth in the coming quarters. Pipeline progress was impressive and strategic collaborations will further expand the portfolio.

However, Revlimid is expected to face generic versions soon, which will have a negative impact on sales.

Bristol-Myers Squibb currently owns the Zacks Rank #4 (sold).

The top-ranked stocks in the biotechnology space are Vir Biotechnology (VIR Quick Quote – ) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX Quick Quote – ). While Vir has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Vertex has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). As you can see.

Vir Biotechnology's earnings per share estimates for 2022 have increased from $4.77 to $6.53 in the last 30 days. VIR has beaten estimates in two of the last four quarters and missed estimates in the other two, with an average surprise rate of 12.95 percent.

Vertex's general estimate for 2022 earnings has increased by $1.01 over the last 60 days to $14.33. Shares of VRTX have risen 14.1% over the past year.