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Opdivo: Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Blockbuster Oncology Drug

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Oncology drug Opdivo

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) latest drug Opdivo was the seventh drug to be approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for the treatment of melanoma. It’s also approved for the treatment of lung cancer. Opdivo reported revenues of $1.3 billion in 4Q16 compared to $475.0 million in 4Q15.

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What Opdivo means to BMY

Opdivo is proving to be a blockbuster drug. It’s expected to be one of BMY’s major revenue contributors in the next five years. The drug has already been approved for melanoma and forms of lung cancers, renal cell carcinoma (or kidney cancer), squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and classical Hodgkin lymphoma.

Opdivo’s developments in global markets

For US markets, lung cancer is an important opportunity for Bristol-Myers Squibb. It’s the first company to market drugs for squamous cell cancer. Opdivo has already been approved for the treatment of non-squamous cell carcinoma.

The latest developments of Opdivo include the following:

  • In January 2017, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical announced a global patent license agreement with Merck & Co. (MRK) to settle all Keytruda-related patent infringement litigations.
  • In November 2016, the FDA approved Opdivo for the treatment of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck who have shown disease progression during or after platinum-based chemotherapy.
  • In November 2016, the European Commission approved Opdivo for the treatment of classical Hodgkin lymphoma after autologous stem cell transplant and treatment with brentuximab vedotin.
  • In December 2016, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical announced the approval of Opdivo in Japan for the treatment of patients with classical Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • In December 2016, Ono Pharmaceutical submitted a supplemental application for the approval of Opdivo for the treatment of gastric cancer.

Yervoy is also used for the treatment of melanoma. The FDA and the European Commission have validated the combination of Opdivo and Yervoy for metastatic melanoma.

Other drugs used for the treatment of melanoma are Merck & Co.’s (MRK) Intron A, Sylatron, and Keytruda; Novartis’s (NVS) Proleukin; GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Mekinist and Tafinlar; and Roche’s Zelboraf.

You can consider investing in the iShares Global Healthcare (IXJ), which holds 2.4% of its total assets in Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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