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Bristol-Myers Squibb

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Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)

Company Profile : Bristol-Myers Squibb is a New York City-based global biopharmaceutical company, which is engaged in the discovery, development, licensing, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sale of pharmaceutical products on a global basis.

Bristol-Myers Squibb joined the parade of big names boosting their dividends in recent weeks, announcing a 3.1% increase to its quarterly payout.

The pharmaceutical giant, whose products include blood thinner Plavix and cancer drug Erbitux, said its board approved a dividend of 33 cents a share on its common stock, starting in the first quarter of fiscal 2011. The dividend will be payable on Feb. 1 to shareholders of record on Jan. 7.

That brings Bristol-Myers Squibb's dividend yield to around 4.98%.

Bristol-Myers said the quarterly dividend implies a total payout of $1.32 a share for fiscal 2011, although the dividend will be subject to quarterly review by the board.

Bristol-Myers had 1.7 billion shares in the third quarter of 2010, compared with 2 billion shares outstanding in the year-earlier quarter, representing a 12.3% reduction. Stock buybacks by S&P 500 companies increased 128% in the third quarter. For some S&P 500 stocks, a fourth-quarter earnings boost could be the byproduct of the buyback bonanza.

On Jan. 10 Bristol-Myers said it entered into a an agreement with Opko Health (OPK) to collaborate on new diagnostic testing technology.

Opko's blood tests will be developed to identify biomarkers for a range of diseases including neurodegenerative disorders and other malignancies.

Under the terms of the collaborative project, Opko and Bristol-Myers will work to determine the usefulness of using Opko's technology for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and other early stage cognitive impairments likely to progress to Alzeimer's.

Separately, Bristol-Myers announced it will collaborate with Pharmasset (VRUS) on the utility of combining certain inhibitors for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus.

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