CHICAGO (TheStreet) -- Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) , Roche (RHHBY) and Merck (MRK) are each developing a new generation of cancer drugs that work by dismantling a cloaking mechanism used by cancer cells to hide from a patient's immune system. Bristol-Myers' Yervoy was the first of these drugs to be approved for melanoma in 2011 but the newer drugs, which act against cellular signals known as PD-1 and PDL-1, may be more potent in melanoma and have broader use against lung, kidney and breast cancer.
A preview of early-stage clinical trial results on these immune-boosting cancer drugs was released Wednesday night ahead of next month's American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting. Ultimately, PD-1 and PDL-1 drugs could generate billions of dollars in new sales for Bristol-Myers, Roche and Merck if early results are confirmed in ongoing and larger phase III studies.
In a long-term followup to a separate phase I study, nivolumab, when used on its own, contributed to median overall survival of 9.6 months and one-year survival of 43% for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer; median overall survival of 16.8 months and one-year survival of 61% for patients with melanoma; and a greater than 22 month median overall survival and 70% one-year survival for kidney cancer cancer patients. Phase III studies of nivolumab are already underway.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV