Pharma Giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Plans Layoffs, Effective Oct. 6
Published: Aug 15, 2017
August 10, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
As Bristol-Myers Squibb ’s HIV drugs Reyataz and Sustiva lose patent protection, the company plans to lay off 58 staffers. Six of the people work at the company’s Princeton Pike location and the remaining 52 are telecommuters spread across the country.
A company spokesperson said in a statement that Bristol-Myers is “making changes to our HIV portfolio business,” and that as of October 6, “all dedicated U.S. field sales and home office positions supporting the HIV portfolio will be eliminated. As we always do, Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to ensuring colleagues are treated fairly and with respect throughout this period of transition.”
In 2014, Reyataz brought in $1.36 billion, which dropped to $1.14 billion in 2014, and then last year to $912 million. It will lose patent protection in the European Union between 2017 and 2019, and then in Japan in 2019.
In 2014, Sustiva raked in $1.44 billion, which dropped in 2015 to $1.25 billion, and in 2016 still managed to stay at blockbuster status with $1.07 billion in sales. In the U.S., last year, Sustiva was responsible for $901 million of that sales figure. Sustiva’s composition of matter patent ran out in 2013, and its method patent expired in September 2014. Several other patents were tangled in lawsuits, which were settled in October 2014.
Despite that, it’s been a busy month so far for Bristol-Myers. On August 1, the company announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved its Opdivo (nivolumab) for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients (12 years and older) with microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) that progressed after treatment with fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan. It was granted under accelerated approval.
“Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who have dMMR or MSI-H tumors are less likely to respond to conventional chemotherapy,” said Heinz-Josef Lenz, Terrence Lanni Chair in Gastrointestinal Cancer Research at the University of Southern California, in a statement. “While the challenges of treating these patients have been significant, tumors characterized by these biomarkers are immunogenic. Therefore, advances in immunotherapy research are encouraging in presenting new treatment options for appropriate patients with MSI-H metastatic colorectal cancer.”
And on August 3, Bristol-Myers acquired IFM Therapeutics (IFM) located in Boston for $300 million upfront and up to $1.01 billion in milestones for each of the first products from its two programs. It gives Bristol-Myers full rights to IFM’s preclinical stimulator of interferon genes (STING) and NLRP3 agonist programs for cancer.
“Targeting innate immunity pathways represents a potentially differentiated approach in immuno-oncology designed to initiate and augment immune responses that may help the body’s natural defenses better recognize and attack tumors,” said Thomas Lynch, Jr., Bristol-Myers Squibb’s executive vice president and chief scientific officer, in a statement. “The addition of STING and NLRP3 agonist programs broadens our ability to investigate additional pathways across the immune system and complements our immune-oncology portfolio. We look forward to advancing the development of these important programs initiated by Gary Glick, his leadership team and leading academic and industry experts across immunology and oncology.”
Bristol-Myers Squibb is currently trading for $57.09.