The stock market continues to be volatile because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While all the major market indexes are still down year to date, the market rallied on Thursday as Congress made real progress in its attempt to pass a stimulus deal to help those most affected by the outbreak.
Still, many quality stocks remain dirt cheap as a result of the recent sell-off, and now may be an excellent time to consider going on a stock-buying spree -- regardless of the short-term economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. One stock that investors should strongly consider right now is Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY). Here's why the pharma giant presents attractive prospects.
Bristol Myers Squibb's strong portfolio
Bristol Myers Squibb boasts a strong lineup of products, but the company's cancer treatments deserve special mention. The company's best-selling cancer drug at the moment is Opdivo, which treats advanced melanoma (skin cancer) and lung cancer, among other forms of the disease. During the fourth quarter, sales of Opdivo were $1.8 billion. While that represented a 2% year-over-year decline, the drug is still being evaluated for many other types of cancers, and its sales should pick up soon.
Also, Bristol Myers Squibb acquired the rights to Revlimid thanks to its acquisition of Celgene in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $74 billion. From the time of the closing of this acquisition on Nov. 20 to the end of Bristol Myers Squibb's fourth quarter on Dec. 31, Revlimid racked up $1.3 billion in sales. According to the research firm Evaluate Pharma, Opdivo and Revlimid will "compete for the top-selling products in the world in 2022."
Beyond its lineup of cancer treatments, Bristol Myers Squibb can rely on other products. Most notably, the company's best-selling drug (for now) is the anticoagulant Eliquis. During the fourth quarter, its sales were $2 billion, representing a 19% year-over-year increase. Eliquis has a bright future, with Evaluate Pharma predicting that it will also be among the world's five best-selling drugs in 2022. And while Bristol Myers Squibb shares the rights to Eliquis with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), the company will still profit from the drug's sales growth.
Exciting pipeline candidates
In addition to its strong lineup, Bristol Myers has several attractive pipeline candidates or products that are currently being reviewed by regulatory agencies. In particular, the company recently submitted a Biologics License Application (BLA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for liso-cel as a treatment for a form of cancer called relapsed or refractory (meaning the disease returns after the patient was treated or does not respond to treatment) large B-cell lymphoma. According to Bristol Myers' senior vice president, Stanley Frankel, "There remains a critical need for additional therapies in large B-cell lymphoma, particularly for relapsed or refractory patients."
Liso-cel is still being evaluated for other cancers. Other interesting products in Bristol Myers Squibb's pipeline include ide-cel, a potential treatment for multiple myeloma. Bristol Myers acquired the rights to both liso-cel and ide-cel thanks to its takeover of Celgene, and along with other pipeline products, these candidates could help strengthen the company's lineup.
Too cheap to ignore
Some might bring up the ongoing pandemic as a reason to stay away from Bristol Myers Squibb. But patients will likely keep on taking their prescription medicine regardless of the situation, particularly when they suffer from cancer and other severe diseases for which Bristol Myers Squibb develops and markets drugs. That is why I don't see the COVID-19 pandemic as a serious threat to the company's financial results. There may be some impact on Bristol Myers' earnings over the next few months, but in the long run, the company will be fine.
Lastly, Bristol Myers' attractive valuation is yet another reason to consider buying its stock. The company's forward P/E is just 8.1, and its price-to-earnings-growth ratio is 0.03. At these levels, this pharma stock is far too cheap for investors to ignore.