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BMS to explore new options for its immuno-oncology drug Opdivo

Partners with PsiOxis to research its use with enadenotucirev

BMSBristol-Myers Squibb has embarked on a new research venture that could extend the reach of its immuno-oncology drug Opdivo (nivolumab).

The company will work with PsiOxus Therapeutics to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the Oxford, UK biotech's enadenotucirev in combination with Opdivo for the treatment of a range of tumours in late-stage cancer patients.

Enadenotucirev is designed to have immune stimulating effects and the companies hope that combining it with Opdivo, which alleviates immune suppression, will improve tumour shrinkage and treatment durability.

Jean Viallet, global clinical research lead for oncology at BMS, said: “This collaboration continues to expand our clinical development of Opdivo and explores how oncolytic viruses may provide a complementary mechanism to address tumors that are resistant to immuno-oncology therapy.”

BMS has agreed to an upfront payment of $10m to PsiOxus, with both companies sharing subsequent research costs. BMS has then reserved the rights to first pick of any enadenotucirev products developed through the partnership.

Opdivo is currently on the market as a second-line treatment for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but has yet to be backed by UK cost-effectiveness watchdog NICE.

Research from the CheckMate-141 trial halted earlier this year revealed PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo boosted survival rates in patients with head and neck cancer by 30%.

However it is behind Merck & Co's rival PD-1 inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab), which has already been filed for approval in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). The FDA has awarded Keytruda priority review status, with the ruling expected by 9 August.

Like BMS, Merck & Co has also moved to extend the reach of its immuno-oncology drug, teaming up with Moderna Therapeutics to develop personalised cancer vaccines that would work alongside Keytruda.

Article by
Rebecca Clifford

1st July 2016

From: Research

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