Bristol-Myers Squibb has posted fourth-quarter net income of $726 million, a 21.5% fall compared to a year earlier when the company recorded a tax benefit, while revenues were up 6% to $4.44 billion.

Sales of the antipsychotic Abilify (aripiprazole) fell 22% to $635 million, hit by generics, and as for the firm's HIV drugs, the Sustiva (efavirenz) franchise increased 11% to $427 million, and Reyataz (atazanavir) was down 3% to $384 million. Revenues from Baraclude (entecavir) for hepatitis B climbed 14% to $412 million.

Sprycel (dasatanib) for leukaemia leapt 30% to $365 million, while Orencia (abatacept) for rheumatoid arthritis increased 22% to $397 million. The cancer agent Erbitux (cetuximab) was up 5% to $180 million, while the melanoma drug Yervoy (ipilimumab) soared 23% to $260 million. The oral anticoagulant Eliquis (apixaban) contributed $70 million, while the former blockbuster Plavix (clopidogrel) brought in $81 million (+65%).

B-MS is selling its interest in a diabetes joint venture to partner AstraZeneca and in the quarter Onglyza (saxagliptin) and Kombiglyze (saxagliptin/metformin) together delivered $224 million, up 29%. As for Byetta (exenatide) and the extended-release formulation of the latter, Bydureon, sales reached $105 million and $93 million, up 12% and 60% respectively.

Concern over Yervoy/nivolumab combo

The results beat estimates but B-MS shares fell 5.6% to $50.94 as investors showed concern over the prospects of nivolumab. Earlier in the week, B-MS unveiled a new trial of the much-touted immunotherapy in lung cancer which some observers interpreted as a problem for an ongoing nivolumab study in combination with Yervoy.

B-MS said it is waiting for more data from additional cohorts in the combo study and is "potentially exploring different doses and regimens and specific patient populations". Nivolumab is being investigated for renal cancer and melanoma, plus lung cancer.