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Bristol-Myers Squibb Announces Plans for Third Quarter Submission of a Biologics License Application for Opdivo® (nivolumab), an Investigational PD-1 Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor, for Previously Treated Advanced Melanoma

Stocks in this article: BMY

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) today announced that, following discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the company is planning a third quarter submission of a Biologics Licensing Application (BLA) for Opdivo ® (nivolumab) for previously treated advanced melanoma. This will mark the second tumor type for which Bristol-Myers Squibb has a regulatory submission underway for Opdivo in the U.S.

“We continue to collaborate closely with the FDA on Opdivo and the planned submission in advanced melanoma represents an important step forward in our company’s commitment to deliver innovative treatment options for patients with cancer,” said Michael Giordano, MD, Head of Oncology Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The advanced melanoma BLA is based on data from Checkmate -037, a multinational, multicenter, randomized open-label Phase 3 trial evaluating Opdivo compared to dacarbazine (DTIC) or carboplatin/paclitaxel in patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma who have been previously treated with Yervoy ® (ipilimumab) and, if BRAF-mutation positive, a BRAF inhibitor regimen.

Bristol-Myers Squibb has proposed the name Opdivo (pronounced op-dee-voh) , which, if approved by health authorities, will serve as the trade name for nivolumab.

About Opdivo

Cancer cells may exploit “regulatory” pathways, such as checkpoint pathways, to hide from the immune system and shield the tumor from immune attack. Opdivo is an investigational, fully-human PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor that binds to the checkpoint receptor PD-1 (programmed death-1) expressed on activated T-cells. We are investigating whether by blocking this pathway, Opdivo would enable the immune system to resume its ability to recognize, attack and destroy cancer cells.

Bristol-Myers Squibb has a broad, global development program to study Opdivo in multiple tumor types consisting of more than 35 trials – as monotherapy or in combination with other therapies – in which more than 7,000 patients have been enrolled worldwide. Among these are several potentially registrational trials in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), melanoma, renal cell carcinoma (RCC), head and neck cancer, glioblastoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In 2013, the FDA granted Fast Track designation for Opdivo ® (nivolumab) in NSCLC, melanoma and RCC. In April 2014, the company initiated a rolling submission with the FDA for Opdivo in third-line pre-treated squamous cell NSCLC and expects to complete the submission by year-end. The FDA granted Opdivo Breakthrough Therapy Designation in May 2014 for the treatment of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma after failure of autologous stem cell transplant and brentuximab. On July 4 th, Ono Pharmaceutical Co. announced that Opdivo received manufacturing and marketing approval in Japan for the treatment of patients with unresectable melanoma, making Opdivo the first PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor to receive regulatory approval anywhere in the world.

About Advanced Melanoma

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) located in the skin. Metastatic melanoma is the deadliest form of the disease, and occurs when cancer spreads beyond the surface of the skin to the other organs, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, brain or other areas of the body. The incidence of melanoma has been increasing for at least 30 years. In 2012, an estimated 232,130 melanoma cases were diagnosed globally. Melanoma is mostly curable when treated in its early stages. However, in its late stages, the average survival rate has historically been just six months with a one-year mortality rate of 75 percent, making it one of the most aggressive forms of cancer.

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