Bristol Myers Squibb finally see’s success in Celgene takeover

It is good news for BMS today, as the FDA finally approved Celgene’s treatment for myelofibrosis, Inrebic, as a first line or follow up treatment. This will be the first drug in nearly a decade to be approved for this disease. Myelofibrosis is a rare bone marrow disorder that disrupts the patient’s normal production of blood cells. However, it is not all good news as Inrebic will have to come packaged in a black box warning for potential serious and fatal encephalopathy (a general term for brain disease). As Celgene reported from its clinical trail results that serious encephalopathy was reported in 1.3% of trial patients treated with Inrebic and one of those patients actually died from the side effect.

Inrebic has passed through many hands in its lifetime with Celgene picking up the drug from its acquisition of Impact BioMedicines in early 2018, where before that it was developed by TargeGen and then acquired by Sanofi. Where Sanofi subsequently called of its clinical trials back in 2013 due to the FDA placing a hold on the drug.

This comes as good news for BMS, as Inrebic was one of the big 5 products that BMS was set to acquire after its takeover of Celgene. And after Multiple Sclerosis hopeful and other Big 5 member, Ozanimod, has been picked up by FDA again, it seems that events are finally starting to head in the right direction for BMS.

However, shareholders still remain to be convinced as they bring up the forced divestment of Celgene’s blockbuster Otezla (which racked up $1.6bn in sales in 2018) and a flurry of patent set to end, will accumulate a lot of pressure for the Celgene products.

Inrebic is a JAK inhibitor, a market that is soon set to become saturated as two more candidates approach the market. This includes AbbVie’s upadacitnib and Gilead Sciences filgotinib. This is a lucrative market as current JAK inhibitor leader, Pfizer’s Xeljanz turned in an impressive $613m in its second quarter.

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