Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. isn't talking publicly about narrowing its focus by dropping discovery in several crowded and/or particularly difficult disease areas while doubling down on others like cancer immunotherapy. Nevertheless, the decision looks to be a case of the company pivoting towards where it has had recent success.

BMS has been a leader in cancer immunotherapy for several years thanks initially to the success of melanoma drug Yervoy ipilimumab and more recently based on the potential of nivolumab, a mAb against PD-1 receptor (PDCD1; PD-1; CD279).