Bristol-Myers Developing Three New Drugs For Better Diabetes Treatment

The maker of the most prescribed diabetes drug, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is now going to develop three new drugs for diabetes treatment and for this purpose they are teaming with Pfizer Inc., the world’s biggest drugmaker, and AstraZeneca Plc.

The company is expecting these three drugs will market $3 billion per year.

The first of the new pills could go on sale in two years and by 2011 may generate revenue of $1 billion, adding about 20 cents a share to profit, analysts said. Each holds the promise of surpassing the $2.7 billion in peak revenue from Glucophage, the Bristol-Myers drug available in cheaper generic forms since 2002. Success could boost shares in a company that only six analysts now rate a buy, among 23 surveyed by Bloomberg.

By developing treatments for the $15 billion worldwide diabetes market with New York-based Pfizer and London-based AstraZeneca, Bristol says it will limit risk as the company seeks to replace sales lost when Glucophage’s patent expired.

Moreover Bristol-Myers needs new medicines after the patent on Plavix, its best-seller with $3.3 billion in revenue last year, expires in 2011.

“These three drugs could replace Plavix, and then some,” Miller Tabak’s Funtleyder said.

The most advanced of the three new drugs, saxagliptin, is in the third and final stage of trials needed for U.S. approval. Like Januvia, it is in a new class of drugs known as DPP4- inhibitors that spur the pancreas to produce more insulin and signals the liver to make less glucose, or blood sugar.

AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers say they will seek clearance for the drug next year. Novartis AG’s similar drug, Galvus, was delayed in November after U.S. regulators sought more data showing that skin lesions in monkey tests hadn’t appeared in people. In early trials, Bristol’s pill also caused similar sores in monkeys.

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