EMA committee recommends approval of Bristol-Myers Squibb's new Opdivo dosing regimen

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended approval of Opdivo (nivolumab) flat dosing schedule of 240 mg infused over 30 minutes every two weeks (Q2W) or 480 mg infused over 60 minutes every four weeks (Q4W) for the adjuvant treatment of adult patients with melanoma with involvement of lymph nodes or metastatic disease who have undergone complete resection. The CHMP recommendation will now be reviewed by the European Commission (EC), which has the authority to approve medicines for the European Union (EU).

“This positive CHMP opinion for Opdivo two and four-week dosing reinforces our commitment to offering flexible dosing options for patients, caregivers and healthcare providers,” said Ralu Vlad, Pharm.D, development team lead, product design and delivery, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “We look forward to the European Commission’s decision and potentially bringing this new Opdivo dosing regimen to patients as quickly as possible.”

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) located in the skin. Metastatic melanoma is the deadliest form of the disease and occurs when cancer spreads beyond the surface of the skin to other organs. The incidence of melanoma has been increasing steadily for the last 30 years. In the United States, 91,270 new diagnoses of melanoma and more than 9,320 related deaths are estimated for 2018. Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that by 2035, melanoma incidence will reach 424,102, with 94,308 related deaths. Melanoma is mostly curable when treated in its very early stages; however, survival rates are roughly halved if regional lymph nodes are involved. Patients in the United States diagnosed with advanced melanoma classified as Stage IV historically have a five-year survival rate of 15% to 20% and a 10-year survival of 10% to 15%.

Melanoma is separated into five staging categories (stages 0-4) based on the in-situ feature, thickness and ulceration of the tumor, whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, and how far the cancer has spread beyond lymph nodes.

Stage 3 melanoma has reached the regional lymph nodes but has not yet spread to distant lymph nodes or to other parts of the body (metastasized) and requires surgical resection of the primary tumor as well as the involved lymph nodes. Some patients may also be treated with adjuvant therapy. Despite surgical intervention, most patients experience disease recurrence and progress to metastatic disease.

Opdivo is a programmed death-1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitor that is designed to uniquely harness the body’s own immune system to help restore anti-tumor immune response. By harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, Opdivo has become an important treatment option across multiple cancers.

Opdivo’s leading global development programme is based on Bristol-Myers Squibb’s scientific expertise in the field of immuno-oncology, and includes a broad range of clinical trials across all phases, including phase 3, in a variety of tumor types. To date, the Opdivo clinical development program has treated more than 35,000 patients. The Opdivo trials have contributed to gaining a deeper understanding of the potential role of biomarkers in patient care, particularly regarding how patients may benefit from Opdivo across the continuum of PD-L1 expression.

In July 2014, Opdivo was the first PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor to receive regulatory approval anywhere in the world. Opdivo is currently approved in more than 65 countries, including the United States, the European Union, Japan and China. In October 2015, the Company’s Opdivo and Yervoy combination regimen was the first Immuno-Oncology combination to receive regulatory approval for the treatment of metastatic melanoma and is currently approved in more than 50 countries, including the United States and the European Union.

Checkmate 037–previously treated metastatic melanoma; Checkmate 066–previously untreated metastatic melanoma; Checkmate 067–previously untreated metastatic melanoma, as a single agent or in combination with YERVOY; Checkmate 017–second-line treatment of metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer; Checkmate 057–second-line treatment of metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer; Checkmate 032–small cell lung cancer; Checkmate 025–previously treated renal cell carcinoma; Checkmate 214–previously untreated renal cell carcinoma, in combination with YERVOY; Checkmate 205/039–classical Hodgkin lymphoma; Checkmate 141–recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck; Checkmate 275–urothelial carcinoma; Checkmate 142–MSI-H or dMMR metastatic colorectal cancer, as a single agent or in combination with YERVOY; Checkmate 040–hepatocellular carcinoma; Checkmate 238–adjuvant treatment of melanoma.

In 2011, through a collaboration agreement with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb expanded its territorial rights to develop and commercialize Opdivo globally, except in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, where Ono had retained all rights to the compound at the time. On July 23, 2014, Ono and Bristol-Myers Squibb further expanded the companies’ strategic collaboration agreement to jointly develop and commercialize multiple immunotherapies – as single agents and combination regimens – for patients with cancer in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.


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