Bristol-Myers Upgraded to Buy at Truist on Pipeline Strength

'Given the pipeline progress coupled with results from our detailed pipeline analysis,' Truist  raised its rating on Bristol-Myers to buy.
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Bristol-Myers Squibb  (BMY) - Get Report shares firmed Tuesday after Truist upgraded the pharmaceutical giant to buy from hold amid optimism about its drug pipeline.

Truist analyst Gregg Gilbert also raised his price target to $74 a share from $66. 

BMY recently traded at $63.05, up 0.6%. It has eked out a 1.4% gain over the past six months amid question marks concerning the pipeline.

“We launched on U.S. major [pharmaceuticals] in October with an overall bullish view on the group, but we started with a hold rating on BMY pending greater visibility on key late-stage pipeline assets,” Gilbert wrote in a commentary.

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“Since then, BMY has received [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] approval for Abecma (ide-cel) and Breyanzi (liso-cel), and announced positive top-line Phase 3 results for deucravacitinib (TYK2 inhibitor) and relatlimab (LAG-3 inhibitor).”

Deucravacitinib treats plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and several other disorders. Relatlimab treats advanced melanoma.

“Given the pipeline progress coupled with results from our detailed pipeline analysis,” Gilbert said he decided on the rating  and price-target upgrades.

Bristol-Myers posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and boosted its full-year profit forecast, as sales linked to its 2019 purchase of Celgene continue to support growth.

Bristol-Myers said non-GAAP earnings for the quarter totaled $1.46 a share, up 20% from the year-earlier quarter and 4 cents ahead of the Wall Street consensus forecast.

In February, BMY announced it reached a deal with Rockefeller University giving the drug giant rights to Rockefeller’s COVID treatment.

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