Not Any Real Surprise, From Seamus Fernandez — As Both Merck And BMS To Report Q2 Results This Week…

MRK-Leerink-Q2-Est-2016 If you’ve been reading our regular updates on the two competitors in the checkpoint inhibitor space, you will not be surprised to hear that Leerink Swan analyst Seamus Fernandez is lifting his full year 2016 estimate on BMS’s Opdivo® sales. He sees that franchise as accelerating its growth.

Meanwhile, he does still expect growth from Merck’s Keytruda® when it reports on this coming Friday morning, but he is reducing his full year estimate on the very pricey immuno oncology treatment due to trendlines in IMS scrip data he’s recently reviewed. [I will say we made much the same call, over a year and a quarter ago, now — and without the benefit of the expensive IMS weekly data subscription.] In any event — here is what to look for, as this busy week for drug company and bioscience earnings wears on (per Investors’ Business Daily):

. . . .”Together with Yervoy, Bristol-Myers maintains 85% share of the checkpoint inhibitor market,” Fernandez wrote, referring to the class of cancer drugs to which Opdivo belongs. “Based on these trends, we have increased our full-year 2016 Opdivo sales by $450 million (to $3.8 billion) and expect strong uptake in Japan will improve royalty revenue from Ono. . . .”

Merck, reporting Friday morning, is in a similar situation, but its growth is expected to be more modest — in single digits on the bottom line and flat on revenue. Its blockbuster diabetes franchise is facing increasing competition, even as Opdivo competitor Keytruda takes off.

“We have lowered our near-term estimates for Keytruda and the Januvia franchise based on sales and prescription data, respectively; however we see greater long-term opportunity for each relative to our previous forecasts,” Fernandez wrote. “The recent announcement of an overall survival benefit for Keytruda from Keynote-024 trial raises the prospects for the drug in first-line non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). . . .”

Now you know. And now. . . it is just simply too wonderful, outdoors, to stay in any longer — off for a summer afternoon walkabout. Smile!

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