Bristol-Myers Shares Gain After Positive Data From Opdivo Lung Cancer Trial

Bristol-Myers said its blockbuster drug, Opdivo, as well as chemotherapy helped patients suffering from resectable non-small cell lung cancer in a late-stage trial.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co  (BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report shares jumped higher Wednesday after the drugmaker reported promising late-stage data from a key lung cancer treatment study.

Bristol-Myers said that patients suffering from resectable non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC, responded well to treatments of chemotherapy and Opdivo, the group's blockbuster drug, when compared to patients who only received chemotherapy. The trial, known as  CheckMate -816, remains ongoing with the aim of assessing the other primary endpoint of event-free survival in the participating patients.

Opdivo is one of Bristol-Myers' top-selling drugs, generating second quarter revenues of $1.65 billon, a figure that was down 9% from last year. However, its Merck & Co.  (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report made cancer immunotherapy rival, Keytruda, saw sales rise 29% over the same period to $3.4 billion. 

“The CheckMate -816 results build on Bristol Myers Squibb’s heritage in the treatment of thoracic cancers, where Opdivo-based regimens have demonstrated superior overall survival in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer and unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma,” said Abderrahim Oukessou, who leads thoracic cancers development at Bristol Myers. “In addition, these data add to our growing scientific understanding of the potential of immunotherapy approaches to transform outcomes in earlier stages of different cancer types, when the immune system may be more responsive."

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Bristol-Myers shares were marked 1.3% higher in early trading Wednesday to change hands at $58.50 each, a move that pushes the stock into a modest six-month gain of around 2.7%.

Earlier this week, Britsol-Myers agreed to buy drugmaker MyoKardia Inc.  (MYOK) - Get MyoKardia, Inc. Report, which makes the experimental heart treatment mavacamten, for around $13.1 billion and reiterated its existing profit guidance for the 2021 fiscal year, which sees non-GAAP earnings in the range of $7.15 to $7.45 per share. 

The group boosted in 2020 forecast in August to a range of $6.10 to $6.25 per share.