Bristol-Myers Squibb’s fourth-quarter financials have revealed continued strong sales of the bloodthinner Plavix and the antipsychotic Abilify and a massive leap in profits due to an aftertax gain to the spin-off of the Mead Johnson nutritional unit.

Net income came in at $8.03 billion, compared with $1.24 billion in the like, year-earlier period, helped by a gain of $7.20 billion from the split-off of the aforementioned division. Group sales increased 11% to $5.03 billion, driven by the bloodthinner Plavix (clopidogrel), up 10% to $1.62 billion, while sales of the antipsychotic Abilify (aripiprazole) climbed 17% to $707 million.

As for the firm's HIV drugs, sales of the Sustiva (efavirenz) franchise rose 19% to $358 million, and Reyataz (atazanavir) was up 18% to $388 million. Revenues from Baraclude (entecavir) for hepatitis B climbed 39% to $212 million.

As for B-MS’ newer drugs, Sprycel (dasatanib) for leukaemia rose 38% to $119 million, while Orencia (abatacept) for rheumatoid arthritis increased 30% to $162 million. On the negative side, Onglyza (saxagliptin), a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor for the treatment of type 2 diabetes partnered with AstraZeneca, contributed just $4 million, down from $20 million in the third quarter, while the cancer agent Erbitux (cetuximab) fell 8% to $167 million.

Chief executive James Cornelius said that while “fundamentally transforming our company over the past year, we were able to grow our key franchises, launch new medicines and indications, advance a diverse, differentiated, robust pipeline”. B-MS has also managed to “embed productivity into our corporate DNA”, he added.

On a conference call, Mr Cornelius dismissed talk that B-MS is a takeover target. “We've said over and over again, ‘we're not for sale’.” he noted, adding that "there is $10 billion of real cash in the bank” that the company will use for small- to medium-sized acquisitions. “We're out hunting and we'll see what we come up with," he added.