- Bristol-Myers Squibb and Janssen struck a deal to test Bristol-Myerss Opdivo in combination with a phase 1 drug that Johnson & Johnson (Janssen's parent company) acquired from Aduro Therapeutics, Bristol-Myers said Tuesday.
- The goal is to develop another therapeutic approach for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Janssen's phase 1 drug is an antigen-presentation therapeutic engineered to induce an immune response against NSCLC tumors.
- This marks Bristol-Myers' second research deal this week involving Opdivo, the company's leading checkpoint inhibitor. On Monday, Bristol-Myers and AbbVie agreed to conduct a series of phase 2 trials testing two checkpoint inhibitors, Opdivo and Yervoy, in combination with AbbVie's Rova-T therapy.
Opdivo is the drug to watch in Bristol-Myers' second-quarter earnings, which will be released Thursday morning. The company appears to be ramping up its collaboration efforts in order to retain the lead within the immunotherapy landscape.
During the first quarter, Opdivo generated $704 million in revenues, a remarkable increase compared to the $40 million raised in the first quarter of 2015. And although Merck's Keytruda remains Bristol-Myers' main rival in immuno-oncology, Roche and others hope to catch up. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved Roche's checkpoint inhibitor Tecentriq for use in bladder cancer.
"We are excited to collaborate with Janssen as we explore how the emerging science of antigen-presentation therapeutics, in combination with Opdivo, can potentially provide a new treatment approach for patients with lung cancer," said Jean Viallet, Bristol-Myers' Global Clinical Research Lead for Oncology regarding the latest research deal.
At the end of the day, Bristol-Myers is looking to find combination treatments that expand Opdivo's market reach. Analysts have targeted peak sales for Opdivo in excess of $11 billion.