Bristol-Myers Squibb Says Cancer Drug Combination 'significantly' Improved Survival In Late-stage Melanoma Trial

By Emma Court Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Bristol-Myers Sqibb Co. said Monday morning that the combination of its two cancer drugs showed the best survival rates in melanoma patients in a late-stage clinical trial. The combination of the drugs Opdivo and Yervoy is one many Wall Street analysts believe is promising. Two-year overall survival rates for patients with previously untreated advanced melanoma were highest for the combination treatment, or 64%, followed by 59% for Opdivo alone and 45% for Yervoy alone, according to the company. The phase 3 trial enrolled 945 patients, and had a minimum follow-up period of 28 months. Bristol-Myers said that the clinical trial was not designed to compare Opdivo in combination with Yervoy with Opdivo alone, but that analyses found a relative reduction in death risk of 12% for the combination treatment, with risk of death reduced especially for patients with the PD-L1 biomarker of less than 1%. That's an important distinction, said EvercoreISI analyst Umer Raffat, who said the findings could have implications for an ongoing lung cancer trial. "Could the [Opdivo and Yervoy] combo have a better shot in the <1% PD-L1 cohort?" Raffat asked. "We shall see." Bristol-Myers shares rose a scant 0.2% in morning trade Monday. Shares have declined 8.3% over the last three months, compared with a 4.2% rise in the S&P 500 .

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