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- 02/21/2017

Bristol-Myers adds 3 directors and announces $2B accelerated share repurchase

Pharma Horizon

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company has announced that it has appointed Robert J. Bertolini, Matthew W. Emmens and Theodore R. Samuels to its Board of Directors, effective immediately. In connection with these appointments, the Board will temporarily expand to 14 directors until the 2017 Annual Meeting, to be held on May 2, 2017.

Bristol-Myers Squibb also announced a $2 billion accelerated share repurchase program it will fund through a combination of debt and cash.

The move comes as Bristol-Myers has fallen behind Merck & Co Inc after its immunotherapy Opdivo failed to prolong survival in previously untreated patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the largest oncology market. Merck’s rival drug, Keytruda, did extend survival as a so-called front-line treatment for NSCLC.

Giovanni Caforio, M.D., chief executive officer of Bristol-Myers Squibb, said, “Bristol-Myers Squibb continues to take decisive action to best position the company for growth driven by our leading portfolio of Immuno-Oncology medicines, including Opdivo, and by an exciting diversified portfolio of medicines such as Eliquis and Orencia”.

Bristol-Myers said company directors and executives have met with JANA representatives to understand their views since it became a shareholder in late 2016. The board appointments followed those discussions, the company said.


Who are the three new members:

Theodore Samuels, who retired this year as a senior vice president and portfolio manager at the Capital Group, one of Bristol-Myers’ largest shareholders, joined the board earlier this year at drugmaker Perrigo Co , which later struck a deal with activist Starboard Value LP two weeks ago to add 3 more directors.

Robert Bertolini, an accountant and tax expert who as chief financial officer under Chief Executive Fred Hassan helped turn around a struggling Schering-Plough prior to its merger with Merck. He was later president and CFO at eyecare company Bausch & Lomb. Bertolini also sits on the board of Actelion, which is being acquired by Johnson & Johnson

Matthew Emmens, the former chief executive officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc and before that Shire, is known for experience in bringing new medicines to market, joined Vertex in time to oversee the highly successful launch of its hepatitis C drug Incivek, although it was soon overtaken by safer and more effective treatments.


Source: The Wall Street Journal

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