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BMS/Roche deal for skin cancer drug

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche have entered into an agreement to research the combination of ipilimumab and vemurafenib for metastatic melanoma

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and Roche have entered into an agreement to research the combination of two drugs for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

Under the agreement, the two companies will conduct a phase I/II study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the combination of BMS' CTLA-4 inhibitor Yervoy (ipilimumab) and Roche's investigational oral BRAF inhibitor, vemurafenib.

Yervoy was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

If the initial trials are successful, the companies will conduct further development of the combination.

Both drugs have shown individual positive results in recent studies. A second phase III trial of Yervoy published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed significant improvement in overall survival for patients with metastatic melanoma who took Yervoy in combination with the chemotherapy dacarbazine compared to dacarbazine alone.

Roche also recently announced the results of a phase III trial that showed vemurafenib improved overall survival in people with a form of metastatic melanoma when compared to chemotherapy.

"We are excited to be working with Roche to evaluate the potential that together Yervoy and vemurafenib could improve outcomes for melanoma patients," said Brian Daniels, senior vice president, development and medical affairs, BMS.

6th June 2011

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