Bristol-Myers Squibb Shifts R&D Focus

Today, Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY  ) announced it would be changing its overall research and development strategy in an effort to ensure it continues its leadership "in delivering innovative medicines for patients with serious disease."

Bristol-Myers Squibb will now focus on the late-stage development and commercialization of its diabetes franchise and its hepatitis C drugs. In addition, it will increase its investment in immuno-oncology, which is utilizing the body's own immune system to fight cancer, which it noted was "an area of significant opportunity."

The company said it will focus on its blood thinner Eliquis, cancer drugs Sprycel and Erbitux, Orencia for rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis B treatment Baraclude, HIV drug Reyataz, and its experimental hepatitis C drugs.

Lastly, the company noted it would change the disease and drug platforms it focused its research on to drive more comprehensive growth for 2020 and beyond by discontinuing "broad-based discovery work" in diabetes, hepatitis C, and neuroscience. However, Bristol-Myers Squibb will continue its focus on HIV, hepatitis B, heart failure, oncology, immunoscience, and fibrotic diseases.

"We are focusing our R&D organization on delivering the opportunities where the value is greatest to patients," noted Francis Cuss, Bristol-Myers Squibb's executive vice president and chief scientific officer. Cuss also added the company has "decided to shift R&D toward a more specialty BioPharma model that focuses on the areas of significant unmet medical need, driving near-term growth through our current late-stage portfolio and on ensuring the long-term growth of the company by evolving the disease areas and drug platforms on which we concentrate our research efforts."

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. also said it will eliminate about 75 research and development jobs by the end of 2013. The company had a total of 28,000 employees at the end of 2012.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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