(BMY) Bristol-Myers Squibb Expands HIV Drug’s Reach

Recently, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY) inked a deal with Mylan Inc. (MYL) to expand the market for its HIV drug Reyataz (atazanavir sulfate). The deal allows Matrix to develop and sell the generic version of the HIV therapy in the Indian and sub-Saharan African markets.

Apart from Reyataz, Mylan will also sell the generic versions of other Bristol-Myers HIV therapies such as Videx (didanosine) and Zerit (stavudine) in the above territories as per the agreement. The transaction marks the fifteenth deal signed by Bristol-Myers in the field of HIV and the fourth deal involving Reyataz. The deal also promises the pediatric versions of the HIV therapies.

The deal permits Mylan’s Matrix Laboratories to secure prequalification from the World Health Organization (WHO) for all the offerings covered by the deal. This exercise allows procurement organizations to buy drugs by utilizing funds from United Nations agencies and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

By signing this deal Bristol-Myers has ensured that HIV medicines are easily accessible to patients in these markets. We note that Bristol-Myers has a Global Access Program since 2001 to make low-coast HIV therapies available to HIV patients in impoverished areas.

We note that Bristol-Myers has got into many collaborations and launched new products in the recent past as it intends to make up for the loss of revenues that is expected due to the impending genericization of key drugs, including the blockbuster blood-thinner Plavix. Plavix has been co-developed with Sanofi-Aventis (SNY).

Recommendation

We have a Neutral stance on Bristol-Myers. The stock carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) in the short run.

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