Bristol-Myers Squibb says net income fell 2.7% to $902 million in the second quarter, as a result of restructuring, though revenues climbed 14%, helped by a strong performance from its bloodthinner blockbuster Plavix.

Group sales came in $5.34 billion, and Plavix (clopidogrel) turnover was up 15% to $1.87 billion. Sales of the antipsychotic Abilify (aripiprazole) rose 12% to $706 million, though the antihypertensive Avapro/Avalide (irbesartan) was down 18% to $251 million.

As for the firm's HIV drugs, sales of the Sustiva (efavirenz) franchise rose 12% to $371 million, and Reyataz (atazanavir) was up 11% to $396 million. Revenues from Baraclude (entecavir) for hepatitis B climbed 31% to $292 million.

Sprycel (dasatanib) for leukaemia leapt 46% to $193 million, while Orencia (abatacept) for rheumatoid arthritis increased 28% to $228 million. The cancer agent Erbitux (cetuximab) edged up 1% to $173 million.

Yervoy sales hit $95 million

Chief executive Lamberto Andreotti said the second quarter was a success "across the board - financially, clinically, and operationally". He gave special mention to the strong initial performance of the recently-launched melanoma drug Yervoy (ipilimumab), which contributed an impressive $95 million.

B-MS has also recently received regulatory approval for Nulojix (belatacept) for kidney rejection in the USA and Europe, while the latter has given the green light to the bloodthinner Eliquis (apixaban) to prevent clots after surgery to replace hips or knees. "That brings us to three new products approved in three months", Mr Andreotti noted, adding that positive top-line results from a Phase III trial on Eliquis for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation complete a strong quarter.

Analysts agree and Tim Anderson at Sanford Bernstein issued a research note saying that B-MS "remains hands-down the best pipeline story among the US and European pharmaceutical companies we cover".