Kidney Cancer Drug From Bristol-Myers and Exelixis Meets Key Phase III Endpoint

A kidney-cancer drug candidate combining treatments from Bristol-Myers and Exelixis met its primary endpoint of progression-free survival, the companies said. Exelixis shares jumped on the report.
Author:
Publish date:

A kidney-cancer drug candidate combining treatments from Bristol-Myers Squibb  (BMY) - Get Report and Exelixis  (EXEL) - Get Report met its primary endpoint of progression-free survival, the companies said. 

Bristol-Myers' Opdivo and Exelixis's' Cabometyx in combination significantly improved progression-free survival in patients with renal cell carcinoma, they said. That metric measures a drug's ability to delay a disease from worsening. 

At last check Bristol-Myers shares rose 2.3% to $62.02, while shares of Exelixis, the Alameda, Calif., biopharma, climbed 24% to $24.08. 

The drug candidate also met two secondary endpoints. 

"The results from the pivotal CheckMate -9ER trial clearly demonstrate the combination of cabozantinib [Cabometyx] plus nivolumab [Opdivo] provides a clinically meaningful benefit in the key efficacy measures of progression-free survival and overall survival for previously untreated kidney cancer patients," said Toni Choueiri, a physician who directs the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

That improvement was compared with patients who were treated with Pfizer's  (PFE) - Get Report Sutent, generically sunitinib. 

Renal-cell carcinoma, the companies said, "is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults, accounting for more than 140,000 deaths worldwide each year." 

The disease affects twice as many men as women, "with the highest rates of the disease in North America and Europe," they said.

Opdivo "[harnesses] the body's own immune system to help restore anti-tumor immune response," Bristol-Myers, New York, said.

Bristol-Myers said Opdivo is already approved in combination with the company's immunotherapy treatment Yervoy to treat metastatic melanoma. 

Opdivo is also used to treat other forms of cancer, including Hodgkin lymphoma and head and neck cancer. 

"We're looking at another very effective combination," Bristol-Myers Chief Medical Officer Samit Hirawat said, according to Reuters. 

"We certainly think its going to be a very competitive combination, compared to many others that are available."