BMS Receives FDA Approval for PD-1 Inhibitor Opdivo
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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab) injection for intravenous use to treat metastatic melanoma. Opdivo is a human programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) blocking antibody and works by inhibiting the PD-1 protein on cells, which blocks the body's immune system from attacking melanoma tumors. It is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma and disease progression following Yervoy (ipilimumab) and, if BRAF V600 mutation positive, a BRAF inhibitor.

 The FDA granted Opvido breakthrough therapy designation, priority review, and orphan product designation because the sponsor demonstrated through preliminary clinical evidence that the drug may offer a substantial improvement over available therapies; the drug had the potential, at the time of the application was submitted, to be a significant improvement in safety or effectiveness in the treatment of a serious condition; and the drug is intended to treat a rare disease, respectively. Opvido was approved under the FDA's accelerated approval program, which allows approval of a drug to treat a serious or life-threatening disease based on clinical data showing the drug has an effect on a surrogate endpoint reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit to patients. This program provides earlier patient access to promising new drugs while the company conducts additional clinical trials to confirm the drug's benefit.

Other FDA-approved treatments for melanoma include ipilimumab (2011), peginterferon alfa-2b (2011), vemurafenib (2011), dabrafenib (2013), trametinib (2013), and pembrolizumab (2014). Opdivo is being approved more than three months ahead of the prescription drug user fee goal date of March 30, 2015, the date when the agency was scheduled to complete its review of the application.

Bristol-Myers Squibb has a broad, global development program to study Opdivo in multiple tumor types consisting of more than 50 trials as a monotherapy or in combination with other therapies in which more than 7,000 patients have been enrolled worldwide.

Source: Bristol-Myers Squibb and FDA

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