As discussed earlier in this series, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) core focus is on innovative medicines, so the company invests a considerable amount in the development of new drugs.
The company has acquired Flexus’s immuno-oncology pipeline, and also collaborated with Rigel Pharmaceuticals (RIGL) for developing cancer immunotherapies. Apart from new drugs, the company is also working on new applications for existing drugs like Opdivo. A few of the recent developments include Elotuzumab, the Hepatitis C drug Daklinza in combination with Sofosbuvir, and the broadening of applications for Opdivo.
Elotuzumab, an investigational immunostimulatory antibody for multiple myeloma, was jointly developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and Abbvie (ABBV). Elotuzumab has received a breakthrough therapy designation from the US FDA. This designation is granted for investigational agent Elotuzumab in combination with Lenalidomide and Dexamethasone for the treatment of multiple myeloma in patients who have received one or more prior therapies.
Eloquent-2, a phase three clinical trials study for Elotuzumab was recently completed. This study revealed that patients who received Elotuzumab in combination with Lenalidomide and Dexamethasone had a two-year progression-free survival rate of 41% as compared to the 27% for patients who had Lenalidomide and Dexamethasone. Celgene’s (CELG) Revlimid is a brand name for the generic drug Lenalidomide.
Bristol-Myers Squibb filed an application for the approval of Elotuzumab in the European Union on July 27, 2015.
Daklinza, a drug for chronic Hepatitis C virus genotype three patients, was approved for the first time in the US. Daklinza in combination with Sofosbuvir is the first 12-week, all-oral, once daily therapy that offers sustained virological response rates 12 weeks after the completion of therapy for the vast majority of genotype three patients. Gilead Sciences’ (GILD) Sovaldi is a brand name for generic drug Sofosbuvir.
As discussed earlier in this series, Opdivo’s phase three study for renal cancer was stopped in July 2015 due to the advantages researchers found in overall survival. The European Commission also validated the drug for non-squamous cell lung cancer, and in combination with Yervoy for metastatic melanoma. Opdivo is approved in over 30 countries to date.
Investors can consider ETFs like the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV), which holds ~3.8% of its total investments in Bristol-Myers Squibb.