Tags: bristol myers | cancer | drug | merck

Bristol Plunges, Merck Jumps on Contrasting Lung Cancer Data

Bristol Plunges, Merck Jumps on Contrasting Lung Cancer Data

(Dollar Photo Club)

Monday, 10 October 2016 12:11 PM

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. shares plunged almost 10 percent after researchers said lung cancer patients fared worse on its Opdivo immunotherapy than those on chemotherapy, while shares of Merck & Co. jumped 2 percent on strong benefits shown by its rival drug in a similar late-stage study.

Patients in both company trials had not been previously treated for their advanced lung cancer. Both drugs were already approved for patients whose disease had progressed following chemotherapy. The companies are hoping to gain approval for them as initial, or first line treatments, and thereby greatly increase the numbers of patients taking them.

Opdivo had long been considered the leader in a new class of medicines that help the immune system unmask hidden cancer cells, until August, when it failed to do better than older chemotherapies in the Phase III trial.

Researchers on Sunday released new information from the study, which showed patients actually did worse on Opdivo, surviving only 4.2 months before their disease worsened, against 5.9 months for those on chemo, although the difference was not statistically significant. The data was presented at the annual meeting of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) congress in Copenhagen.

"This data represented a 'worst-case scenario' for Opdivo," Sanford Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson said in a research note.

Meanwhile, as a monotherapy, researchers said Keytruda halved the risk of disease progression in previously untreated patients, and cut overall deaths by 40 percent compared to chemotherapy alone in pre-selected patients whose tumors had high levels of a protein called PD-L1 that the drugs target.

"Merck will completely 'own' the segment of first-line lung cancer patients who have high PD-L1 expression levels, and Bristol Myers will capture nothing really," Anderson said.

Bristol shares, which had already lost one quarter of their value since the initial trial data was disclosed in August, fell 9.6 percent to $49.94 in morning trading on Monday. Merck shares rose 2.2 percent to $64.13, also on the New York Stock Exchange.

Both drugs have been approved for several types of cancer, but lung cancer is considered by far the biggest market for cancer drugs.

 

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. shares plunged almost 10 percent after researchers said lung cancer patients fared worse on its Opdivo immunotherapy than those on chemotherapy, while shares of Merck jumped 2 percent.
bristol myers, cancer, drug, merck
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2016-11-10
Monday, 10 October 2016 12:11 PM
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