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Bristol-Myers Lifted to Buy at Guggenheim on Opdivo Optimism

Bristol-Myers's rating was lifted to buy at Guggenheim, which sees cancer treatment Opdivo selling better than the investment firm initially thought.
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Bristol-Myers Squibb  (BMY)  shares were upgraded to buy with a $70 price target at Guggenheim, where analysts expressed optimism about sales of the lung-cancer drug Opdivo. 

A series of recent positive Phase 3 datasets for Opdivo suggests that growth for the drug will return in 2021 and accelerate in 2022, which caused analysts to move off off their neutral take on BMY, the analyst said.

"Prior to today, our Opdivo global sales were about $2.6 billion below [consensus estimates for 2025,] based largely on questions around the magnitude and importance of success across several recent clinical trials," analyst Seamus Fernandez said. 

The investment firm now says "consensus Opdivo sales are achievable with upside optionality in 2022" and beyond. 

Bristol-Myers shares at last check were little changed at $61.25. 

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Guggenheim's new Opvido model now includes treatment for early-stage cancers, based on the Phase 3 results. 

Physician checks showing "solid early uptake" for Opdivo as a treatment now have Guggenheim adding $3.5 billion in revenue from the drug between 2025 and 2028, with peak sales of more than $11 billion through the drug's patent expiration in 2028.

"On balance, we believe combined use of Opdivo plus Yervoy and Opdivo plus Cabometyx will expand Opdivo sales significantly, Fernandez said.

That's "particularly as use of monotherapy kinase inhibitors declines and Opdivo treatment duration expands. In addition, BMY is the only company with success in [first-line] gastric cancer in combination with chemotherapy." 

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