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Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo® (nivolumab) Receives Breakthrough Therapy Designation from U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Previously Treated Recurrent or Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

PRINCETON, N.J., Apr 25, 2016 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Bristol-Myers Squibb Company BMY, +0.74% announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to Opdivo for the potential indication of recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) after platinum based therapy. The Breakthrough Therapy Designation is an FDA program intended to expedite the development and review of medicines with early signals of potential clinical benefit in serious diseases to help ensure patients have access to new therapies as soon as possible.

The designation is based on results of CheckMate -141, a Phase 3, open-label, randomized trial evaluating Opdivo versus investigator’s choice of therapy in patients with recurrent or metastatic SCCHN with tumor progression within six months of platinum therapies in the adjuvant, primary, recurrent or metastatic setting. This trial was stopped early in January 2016 because an assessment conducted by the independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) concluded that the study met its primary endpoint of overall survival.

Jean Viallet, M.D., Global Clinical Research Lead, Oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb, commented, “The Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Opdivo in advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck underscores the immediate need for new treatment approaches for this devastating disease, and reflects our commitment to advancing Immuno-Oncology research with the goal of addressing hard-to-treat cancers and changing survival expectations for patients.”

According to the FDA, the criteria for Breakthrough Therapy Designation requires preliminary clinical evidence that demonstrates the medicine may have substantial improvement on at least one clinically significant endpoint over available therapy. This is the fifth Breakthrough Therapy Designation granted for Opdivo by the FDA, with previous Breakthrough Therapy Designation indications including patients with Hodgkin lymphoma after failure of autologous stem cell transplant and brentuximab, previously treated advanced melanoma, previously treated non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer, and advanced or metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

About Head & Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer is the seventh most common cancer globally, with an estimated 400,000 to 600,000 new cases per year and 223,000 to 300,000 deaths per year. The five-year survival rate is reported as less than 4% for metastatic Stage IV disease. Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) accounts for approximately 90% of all head and neck cancers with global incidence expected to increase by 17% between 2012 and 2022. Risk factors for SCCHN include tobacco and alcohol consumption, and the increasing role of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection leading to rapid increase in oropharyngeal SCCHN in Europe and North America. Quality of life is often impacted for SCCHN patients, as physiological function (breathing, swallowing, eating, drinking), personal characteristics (appearance, speaking, voice), sensory function (taste, smell, hearing), and psychological/social function can be affected.

Bristol-Myers Squibb & Immuno-Oncology: Advancing Oncology Research

At Bristol-Myers Squibb, we have a vision for the future of cancer care that is focused on Immuno-Oncology, now considered a major treatment choice alongside surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and targeted therapies for certain types of cancer.

We have a comprehensive clinical portfolio of investigational and approved Immuno-Oncology agents, many of which were discovered and developed by our scientists. Our ongoing Immuno-Oncology clinical program is looking at broad patient populations, across multiple solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, and lines of therapy and histologies, with the intent of powering our trials for overall survival and other important measures like durability of response. We pioneered the research leading to the first regulatory approval for the combination of two Immuno-Oncology agents, and continue to study the role of combinations in cancer.

We are also investigating other immune system pathways in the treatment of cancer including CTLA-4, CD-137, KIR, SLAMF7, PD-1, GITR, CSF1R, IDO, and LAG-3. These pathways may lead to potential new treatment options – in combination or monotherapy – to help patients fight different types of cancers.

Our collaboration with academia, as well as small and large biotech companies, to research the potential of Immuno-Oncology and non-Immuno-Oncology combinations, helps achieve our goal of providing new treatment options in clinical practice.

At Bristol-Myers Squibb, we are committed to changing survival expectations in hard-to-treat cancers and the way patients live with cancer.

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 a PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor that binds to the checkpoint receptor PD-1 expressed on activated T-cells, and blocks the binding of PD-L1 and PD-L2, preventing the PD-1 pathway’s suppressive signaling on the immune system, including the interference with an anti-tumor immune response.

Opdivo’s broad global development program is based on Bristol-Myers Squibb’s understanding of the biology behind Immuno-Oncology. Our company is at the forefront of researching the potential of Immuno-Oncology to extend survival in hard-to-treat cancers. This scientific expertise serves as the basis for the Opdivo development program, which includes a broad range of Phase 3 clinical trials evaluating overall survival as the primary endpoint across a variety of tumor types. The Opdivo trials have also contributed toward the clinical and scientific understanding of the role of biomarkers and how patients may benefit from Opdivo across the continuum of PD-L1 expression. To date, the Opdivo clinical development program has enrolled more than 18,000 patients.

Opdivo was the first PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor to receive regulatory approval anywhere in the world in July 2014, and currently has regulatory approval in 50 countries including the United States, Japan, and in the European Union.

U.S. FDA APPROVED INDICATIONS

OPDIVO® (nivolumab) as a single agent is indicated for the treatment of patients with BRAF V600 wild-type unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab) as a single agent is indicated for the treatment of patients with BRAF V600 mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on progression-free survival. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

OPDIVO [®] (nivolumab) is indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy. Patients with EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations should have disease progression on FDA-approved...


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