Billion-dollar BMS: How (and why) pharma company is spending big

Global pharma giant made 2 big deals in December — with latest being $4.1B acquisition of RayzeBio

Chris Boerner sure is making his mark as CEO of Bristol Myers Squibb.

Last week, Boerner and BMS announced the company was making its second billion-dollar buy since Boerner took over as CEO on Nov. 1.

This time, it was RayzeBio, a $4.1 billion acquisition that aims to bolster the company’s cancer drug business. Previously in December, BMS announced a $14 billion buyout of schizophrenia drug developer Karuna Therapeutics.

Chris Boerner.

RayzeBio is a clinical-stage radiopharmaceutical therapeutics company with an innovation-leading position in actinium-based RPTs and a pipeline of potentially first-in-class and best-in-class drug development programs, BMS officials said in a release.

BMS officials feel there remains a high, unmet need for more effective treatments in solid tumors, and RPTs enable a precision approach to patient treatment.

BMS makes its North American headquarters in the Princeton/Lawrence Township area.

Boerner said the transaction enhances the company’s increasingly diversified oncology portfolio by bringing a differentiated platform and pipeline.

“(It) further strengthens our growth opportunities in the back half of the decade and beyond,” he said. “Radiopharmaceutical therapeutics are already transforming cancer care, and RayzeBio is at the forefront of pioneering the application of this novel modality. We look forward to supporting and accelerating RayzeBio’s preclinical and clinical programs and advancing its highly innovative radiopharmaceutical platform.

Karuna is a biopharmaceutical company that describes itself as being driven to discover, develop and deliver transformative medicines for people living with psychiatric and neurological conditions.

Karuna’s lead asset, KarXT (xanomeline-trospium), is an antipsychotic with a novel mechanism of action and differentiated efficacy and safety. Karuna’s New Drug Application for KarXT for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults was accepted for review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act date of Sept. 26, 2024. KarXT is also in registrational trials both for adjunctive therapy to existing standard of care agents in schizophrenia and for the treatment of psychosis in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Bristol Myers Squibb believes KarXT represents a significant revenue contribution opportunity. Bristol Myers Squibb also sees potential from Karuna’s early-stage and pre-clinical pipeline.

According to a report on CNBC, these deals show the company has an urgency to bring in more products as some of the drugmaker’s older therapies are set to face a loss of patent protection later this decade.

In October, BMS announced it was acquiring Mirati Therapeutics for $5.8 billion as part of an effort to diversify BMS’ oncology business. Mirati Therapeutics brings its recently approved lung cancer drug, KRAZATI, to the acquisition.