How Did Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Blockbuster Oncology Drug Perform?


Nov. 28 2016, Updated 8:04 a.m. ET


Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) latest drug Opdivo was the seventh drug to be approved by the US FDA for the treatment of melanoma. Apart from melanoma, this drug is also approved for the treatment of lung cancer. Opdivo reported revenues of $920 million in 3Q16 as compared to $305 million in 3Q15.

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What Opdivo means to BMY

Opdivo is a blockbuster drug and is expected to be one of the company’s major revenue contributors in the next five years. This drug is already approved for melanoma and forms of lung cancers and renal cell carcinoma (or kidney cancer) as well as expanded use for treatment of previously treated non-small cell lung cancer.

Opdivo developments in global markets

Lung cancer treatment is an important opportunity for Bristol-Myers Squibb in US markets, as it is the first company to market drugs for squamous cell cancer.

Here are the latest developments for Opdivo:

  • The US Food and Drug Administration (or FDA) accepted Opdivo’s supplemental Biologics License Application (or sBLA) for priority review for the treatment of an advanced form of blood cancer on October 21, 2016.
  • European Medicine Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (or CHMP) gave a positive opinion of Opdivo for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma on October 14, 2016.
  • On October 9, 2016, Bristol-Myers Squibb published updated results from its Phase I study for the use of the Opdivo-Yervoy combination for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma, results from its Checkmate-026 study for the use of Opdivo monotherapy for the treatment of advanced lung cancer, and results from its Phase III Checkmate-141 study for the use of Opdivo in previously treated patients with head and neck cancer.
  • On September 27, 2016, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced a clinical collaboration with Nektar Therapeutics for evaluation of the combination of Opdivo and Nektar’s drug NKTR-214 for five tumor types.

Apart from Opdivo, Yervoy is also used for the treatment of Melanoma. The US FDA and European Commission have validated the Opdivo combination with Yervoy for metastatic melanoma.

Other drugs used for the treatment of melanoma are Merck’s (MRK) Intron A, Sylatron, and Keytruda; Novartis’s (NVS) Proleukin; GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Mekinist and Tafinlar; and Roche’s Zelboraf. Investors can consider the PowerShares Dynamic Large Cap Growth Portfolio (PWB), which holds 3.0% of its total assets in Bristol-Myers Squibb.


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