Bristol-Myers Squibb has announced its blockbuster immunotherapy Opdivo helped patients with advanced stomach cancer live longer in a late-stage study, becoming the first drug of its kind to show a survival benefit in these patients, reports Reuters Health.
Opdivo met the main study goal of overall survival in patients who failed to respond to or are intolerant of standard chemotherapy, the company said.
The trial was conducted by Bristol-Myers’ partner, Japan’s Ono Pharmaceutical Co Ltd in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and compared the effect of Opdivo to a placebo.
Opdivo, like Merck & Co Inc’s Keytruda, belongs to a new class of medicines called PD-1 inhibitors that help the immune system unmask hidden cancer cells. Both drugs have secured regulatory approval for several types of cancer, but lung cancer is considered by far the biggest market for cancer drugs.
Opdivo and Keytruda are both used in previously-treated lung cancer patients, but Merck’s supremacy in this class of drugs was confirmed when Keytruda last month won approval for untreated lung cancer patients, significantly expanding its addressable population.
The report says Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG’s Tecentriq is another major immunotherapy that has only recently won approvals for multiple types of cancer.Reuters Health report