Roche’s New Cancer Drug Tecentriq Is Giving Bristol-Myers Squbb A Run For its Money

Bristol-Myers Squibb said, on Thursday, that Roche’s new cancer drug, Tecentriq is nabbing up some market share from its second-line non-small-cell lung cancer I/O drug Opdivo. And this has forced the company to cut its 2017 earnings forecast.

“Most of our erosion in second line has been attributable to [Tecentriq],” explains Bristol-Myers’s chief commercial officer Murdo Gordon. “We gave up about 10 points of market share.” In addition, Bristol-Myers Squibb closed last year, 2017, with roughly 40 percent of the second-line market share. Gordon admits, too, that Bristol-Myers Squibb should be able to rebound “with strong execution and a strong profile in second line.”

But Bristol-Myers Squibb Chief Financial Officer Charles Bancroft also reports that sales of the firm’s hepatitis C virus vaccine sales fell 51 percent over last year, likely a result of the new Gilead Sciences HCV drug Epclusa. He also notes that the company has stopped all promotional activities for the HCV franchise in the US as they expect sales will continue to decline—and at a much faster pace—in 2017. it is important to also note, here, that the company’s HCV franchise performed a little better internationally, though Bancroft anticipates global decline.

Indeed, Jeffereis analyst Jeffrey Holford wrote, in a note, “Tecentriq continues to show strong launch trends in the fourth quarter 2016. We have been surprised on the upside by its launch.”
Merck’s Keytruda is also siphoning away sales from Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Both the Roche and the Bristol-Myers drugs—that are in direct competition—have been approved for use after other, first-line cancer treatments fail. Keytruda, though, has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration as a first-line treatment and is now looking for approval as a treatment in combination with chemotherapy.

Life sciences consulting firm IMS estimates Tecentriq may hit May-September sales for bladder cancer to had hit approximately $70 million. This does not, however, include the figures for lung cancer, which is the biggest sector of the cancer treatment market. This is a particularly important metric, of course, as Opdivo’s fourth quarter numbers from last year indicate that 60 percent of its revenue came from sales for lung cancer treatments.