BMS, Johns Hopkins in Immuno-Oncology Pact

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has formed a five-year research collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University to identify mechanisms of response and resistance in patients whose cancer is being treated with checkpoint inhibitor-based immunotherapies, including BMS’ Opdivo (nivolumab) as a monotherapy, or Opdivo in combination with BMS’ Yervoy (ipilimumab) or other investigational immunotherapies.

Under the collaboration, BMS and Johns Hopkins’ scientists will launch an interdisciplinary research program that will study patient tumor samples in four primary research areas: characterization of tumor antigens and tumor antigen-specific T-cells, multifaceted profiling of the tumor microenvironment, assessment of microbiome components that modulate systemic anti-tumor immunity, and elucidation of tumor and immuno-metabolism factors that modify responsiveness to immunotherapy. BMS and Johns Hopkins will also explore several early-stage clinical trials primarily focused on, but not limited to, the study of neoadjuvant immunotherapeutic interventions.

This agreement builds on the collaboration between BMS and the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Johns Hopkins is a founding member of the International Immuno-Oncology Network, a global collaboration between BMS and 13 academia centers that aims to further the scientific understanding of immuno-oncology. The two organizations also entered into an agreement in November 2015 as part of BMS’ immuno-oncology rare population malignancy program in the US.

Opdivo is currently approved in more than 57 countries, including the US, the European Union (EU), and Japan. In October 2015, the company’s Opdivo and Yervoy combination regimen was approved for treating metastatic melanoma and is currently approved in more than 47 countries, including the US and the EU.

Opdivo as a single agent is indicated in the US for treating BRAF V600 mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma and BRAF V600 wild-type unresectable or metastatic melanoma. As a combination therapy, it is indicated in combination with Yervoy (ipilimumab) for treating unresectable or metastatic melanoma. Other indications in the US for Opdivo include treatment of: metastatic non-small cell lung cancer with progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy; advanced renal cell carcinoma with prior anti-angiogenic therapy; and classical Hodgkin lymphoma that has relapsed or progressed after autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and post-transplantation brentuximab vedotin.

In November 2016, Opdivo was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for intravenous use in treating patients with head and neck cancer.

Opdivo has been projected to be a future blockbuster drug some analysts. In 2015, it had global sales of $942 million, and a recent Thomson Reuters analysis projects that 2019 sales will reach nearly $8.9 billion.

Source: Bristol-Myers Squibb

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