UPDATE 3-Skin cancer drug news boosts Bristol shares

* Bristol-Myers shares rise 8.2 percent

* Melanoma data at cancer meeting boosts ipilimumab hopes

* Celgene rises 4.8 percent after Revlimid data

* Delcath drops nearly 25 pct after data out at meeting

* ArQule, Celldex, Pharmacyclics shares also slump
(Adds analyst comment, updates shares throughout)

By Lewis Krauskopf and Ben Hirschler

NEW YORK/LONDON, June 7 (BestGrowthStock) – Bristol-Myers Squibb
Co’s (BMY.N: ) shares rose more than 8 percent on Monday after
news over the weekend that its experimental drug ipilimumab
extended survival in patients with deadly skin cancer.

Bristol’s ipilimumab added an average of four months to the
lives of patients with advanced melanoma, according to data
released at a major cancer meeting, marking a huge advance in a
disease littered with failures. [ID:nN05261548]

Celgene Corp (CELG.O: ) shares also rose more than 4 percent
after data from the meeting on its multiple myeloma drug
Revlimid showed that when taken as maintenance therapy
following stem-cell transplantation, it reduced the risk of
disease progression more than 50 percent. [ID:nN06152624]

Sanford Bernstein analyst Geoff Porges said the eagerly
anticipated presentations at the meeting on Revlimid “did not
disappoint … showing a conclusive improvement” and Jefferies
analysts upgraded Celgene shares to “buy” from “hold.”

However, shares of smaller biotechnology companies Delcath
Systems Inc (DCTH.O: ), ArQule Inc (ARQL.O: ), Celldex Therapeutics
(CLDX.O: ) and Pharmacyclics Inc (PCYC.O: ) each slumped more than
10 percent after data on their respective products were
released at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
meeting in Chicago.

Delcath shares fell nearly 25 percent after its drug
delivery system was shown to help melanoma patients whose
cancer had spread to their liver, live more than three times as
long as patients treated with best available care.

The Delcath study was criticized during the meeting over
its lack of demonstrated survival benefit, its design and over
questions of how many patients could benefit, according to
Cowen & Co analyst Sara Michelmore. Michelmore said in a
research note that the criticism did not alter her opinion on
the treatment’s potential but acknowledged it may be attracting
investor attention.

ArQule’s experimental drug ARQ197 showed that it was most
effective in certain types of lung cancer tumors, but investors
apparently were not impressed. Its shares fell 13 percent.

The stock declines cut into yearly gains for Delcath and
ArQule, which have seen their shares soar in recent months on
initial positive results for their respective products.

The success of Bristol’s ipilimumab heralded a new era of
cancer “immunotherapy” — drugs that enlist the help of the
immune system to fight the disease, researchers said on
Saturday. [ID:nN05163435]

Credit Suisse analyst Catherine Arnold raised her forecast
for the drug’s sales to $720 million in 2015, from $500 million
on the strength of the data.

“While some regulatory risk still exists … at minimum the
probability of success for the drug reaching the market has now
increased,” Arnold said in a research note.

Goldman Sachs analyst Jami Rubin raised Bristol to “buy”
from “neutral,” calling ipilimumab “the first pipeline drug in
the pharma sector that has the potential to re-rate the way
investors perceive pharma terminal growth rates.”

Industry analysts at Jefferies said the success underscored
the drug’s $1 billion-plus sales potential, although questions
remain about adverse events. There is also a potential
competitor on the horizon in the form of Roche’s experimental
treatment PLX4032. [ID:nLN694676]

Pfizer’s shares (PFE.N: ) slid 0.7 percent after the world’s
largest drugmaker’s experimental medicine crizotinib showed it
shrank lung cancer tumors in more than half of treated
patients. [ID:nN05159626]

Leerink Swann analysts called the results impressive but
said the initial opportunity for the treatment was modest
because a relatively small number of patients are estimated to
have the genetic mutation targeted by the drug.

Novartis AG (NOVN.VX: ) shares slipped 0.3 percent following
news about two rivals to its leukemia drug Gleevec — a
competitor called from Sprycel from Bristol-Myers and
Novartis’s own follow-on product Tasigna.

Data at ASCO showed patients on both the new drugs did
better than those on Gleevec. [ID:nN05167288]

Morgan Stanley analysts said Tasigna appeared to have the
edge, with superior safety and efficacy over Sprycel.

Roche Holding AG (ROG.VX: ) — which along with Novartis had
the most data being shown at the world’s top cancer meeting —
reported results of a high-profile clinical study showing the
benefits of its blockbuster drug Avastin in ovarian cancer.

However, the impact was limited since the company had
previously announced the ovarian study had been positive and
some investors were also concerned about questions by an
outside expert at ASCO about the design of the study and its
findings. Roche stock fell 1.2 percent.

Among biotech stocks, British minnow Antisoma (ASM.L: ),
whose stock plunged 70 percent in March when a lung cancer drug
it was developing with Novartis failed in a Phase III trial,
saw a partial revival in its fortunes on hopes for other drugs
in earlier-stage development.

Shares in Antisoma, which presented updates on both AS1413
and AS1411 at ASCO, rose 21 percent.

Investing Advice

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler in London and Lewis Krauskopf in
New York; Editing by Karen Foster and Maureen Bavdek)

UPDATE 3-Skin cancer drug news boosts Bristol shares