Bristol-Myers Squibb’s plans to divest Celgene’s Otezla after $74Bn merger deal shows the company’s confidence in their psoriasis pipeline TYK2 drug

Following the recent news that Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) will divest Celgene’s Otezla to close the merger deal between the two companies;

Vikesh Devlia, PhD, Immunology Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

‘‘Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Phase II pipeline drug, BMS-986165, a Tyrosine-protein Kinase 2 (TYK2) inhibitor, is yet to be approved for the psoriasis market so the immediate divesture of Celgene’s Otezla after the merger may seem a little premature without a viable alternative to offer psoriasis patients.

‘’With global sales of Otezla reaching $1.61Bn in 2018, the drug would bridge any revenue gap until BMS-986165’s approval, however, BMS’ agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) forces them to sell Otezla and removes the drug from their future strategic plans for the merged business. However, it could be a healthy boost for other pharmaceutical companies, with experience in the psoriasis market, to acquire Otezla to increase their sales.

‘’It also demonstrates the company’s confidence in their TYK2 inhibitor’s ability to potentially outperform Otezla in the coming years. This belief will be boosted by strong data from BMS-986165 Phase II clinical trials showing strong efficacy and safety in psoriasis patients compared with moderate levels of efficacy shown by Otezla in patients. We expect data from BMS-986165’s Phase II clinical trials to start becoming available from 2019 onwards.

“The immediate divesture of Otezla is surprising but will provide BMS with a much needed cash injection to invest in the development and marketing of their promising psoriasis pipeline drug in what is a fiercely competitive and saturated market.

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