LINDA A. JOHNSON AP Business Writer TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) — Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. on Thursday reported a solid increase in third-quarter revenue, due to strong sales growth for its blockbuster blood thinner Plavix and other key medicines, and boosted its profit forecast. Higher average drug prices and lower spending on marketing and administration also boosted the performance for the maker of Abilify, which treats schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and HIV drugs Sustiva and Reyataz. However, New York-based Bristol-Myers said its net income from July through September was $966 million, down by nearly two-thirds from $2.6 billion a year earlier. That figure was inflated by a one-time, $2 billion gain from the sale of a business. Excluding that, profit actually was up by 64 percent in the last quarter. The world’s No. 15 drugmaker by revenue had sales of $5.49 billion, just a hair below the $5.52 billion analysts expected. A year ago, revenue totaled $5.25 billion. Both totals include profits from the company’s majority interests in Mead Johnson Nutrition Co., $699 million this quarter and $744 million a year ago. In the interim, Bristol-Myers sold about 20 percent of the company in an initial public offering. Several Bristol-Myers drugs had double-digit sales jumps. Those included Abilify, Orencia for rheumatoid arthritis, leukemia drug Sprycel and hepatitis B drug Baraclude. The company also launched its newest drug, Onglyza for diabetes, in the U.S. in August. It produced $20 million in sales by the end of September, and shortly after got approval in the European Union, where it will soon be on sale. The company posted earnings per share of 48 cents, or 52 cents excluding one-time items. A year ago, it had earnings of 29 cents, or 45 cents without items. Analysts were expecting, on average, earnings per share of 51 cents without items in the latest period. The company raised its 2009 earnings forecast, to a range of $1.72 to $1.77 per share from $1.58 to $1.68. In August 2008, Bristol-Myers sold ConvaTec, its high-tech dressing and wound-care business, for $2 billion. The sale was part of a Bristol-Myers’ strategy called the “String of Pearls,” to sell off noncore businesses and convert the company from a traditional drugmaker to a biopharmaceutical company by acquiring key biotech assets. Bristol-Myers bought one of those pearls during the third quarter for $2.1 billion — Medarex Inc., a biotech drugmaker developing treatments for immune system diseases and cancer. The two companies previously had been collaborating on a late-stage drug candidate, ipilimumab, for advanced skin cancer.