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Celgene and BMS team up for cancer immunotherapy development

Authored by James Sheppard

The two global biopharma giants, Celgene and BMS, have announced a collaboration to advance cancer immunotherapies across multiple tumour types. The partnership will see the two companies study a combination of BMS’s anti-PD-1 drug Opdivo (nivolumab) and Celgene’s cancer drug Abraxane. Celgene is conducting the Phase I trial, which is expected to begin in Q4 2014.

The anti-PD1 space is becoming increasingly crowded with drugs such as Merck’s pembrolizumab, Merck Serono’s MSB0010718C and AstraZeneca’s MED14796. However, BMS currently remains the only company with an approved anti-PD1 inhibitor with Opdivo approved in Japan. Merck is currently awaiting the EMA outcome for its drug pembrolizumab.

Michael Giordano, senior VP, oncology development, BMS said ‘Through this collaboration, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene will work together to advance the science and understanding of how the body’s own immune system and chemotherapy might work together to fight cancer.’

Markus Renschler, Global Head of Haematology & Oncology Medical Affairs for Celgene added. ‘We believe that Abraxane is appropriate as a combination partner for novel immuno-oncology therapies due to its proven anti-tumour activity and that it can be administered without steroid premedication.’

With the race hoting up in the PD-1 space, more and more companies will turn to combination products to achieve best in class results in this highly lucrative market. A raft of recent deals in the immunotherapy space and some eagerly anticipated clinical data mean the cancer immunotherapy area is in for an exciting end to the 2014 year.

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