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BMS and Celgene to research cancer immunotherapy combo

Companies will study combination of nivolumab and Abraxane

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is to advance its efforts in cancer immunotherapies via a collaboration with Celgene.

The partnership will see the two companies study a combination of BMS' anti-PD1 drug Opdivo (nivolumab) and Celgene's cancer drug Abraxane (paclitaxel).

The combination will be investigated in a phase I study across multiple tumour types, including HER-2 negative metastatic breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.

“Through this collaboration, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene will work together to advance the science and understanding of how the body's own immune system and chemotherapy might work together to fight cancer,” said Michael Giordano, senior VP, oncology development, BMS.

Many companies are turning to cancer immunotherapies as the next advance in oncology treatment, with much of the focus on anti-PD1 therapies. Companies that have promising candidates in this class include Merck & Co with the highly promising pembrolizumab, Merck Serono with MSB0010718C and AstraZeneca with MEDI4736.

BMS remains to only company to have an anti-PD1 therapy approved in any country in the world, however, following the decision by regulators in Japan to recommend Opdivo as a treatment for patients with melanoma that is not treatable with surgery.

Opdivo's rivals are not far behind – Merck & Co's pembrolizumab is under review in Europe – and the potential for a combination treatment with Abraxane could give BMS a vital edge in the anti-PD1 race.

Positive study results would also benefit Celgene, which currently markets Abraxane as a treatment for pancreatic cancer and metastatic breast cancer.

The phase I trial is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2014 and will be conducted by Celgene. Different combinations will be tested in different indications: patients with HER-2 negative breast cancer receive Abraxane and Opdivo; patients with NSCLC will receive Abraxane, carboplatin and Opdivo; and patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma will be treated with Abraxane, gemcitabine and Opdivo.

Markus Renschler, global head of haematology and oncology medical affairs, Celgene, said: “We believe that Abraxane is appropriate as a combination partner for novel immuno-oncology therapies due to its proven anti-tumour activity and that it can be administered without steroid premedication.”

Additional details of the collaboration were not disclosed.



21st August 2014

From: Research

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