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Bristol-Myers to Study Opdivo in Combo With Vedanta's VE800

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY - Free Report) announced that it has signed a collaboration deal with Massachusetts-based, privately held Vedanta Biosciences, Inc. to evaluate its immuno-oncology drug, Opdivo, in combination with Vedanta’s lead microbiome-based immuno-oncology candidate, VE800.

The collaboration study will evaluate Bristol-Myers’ PD-1 inhibitor, Opdivo, combined with VE800, a rationally-defined human bacterial consortium for the treatment of patients with advanced or metastatic cancers.

The main idea of the study is to check whether the combination of Opdivo plus VE800 can improve outcomes for patients afflicted with advanced cancers.

As part of the transaction, Bristol-Myers plans to make an equity investment in Vedanta Biosciences. The latter will control the VE800 program and retain the global research and development (R&D) plus commercial rights of the same.

Shares of Bristol-Myers have decreased 14.2% year to date against the industry’s increase of 6.9%.


Notably, Bristol-Myers has inked collaboration deals with several research institutes, small and large biotech and pharma companies including Johns Hopkins University, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) , AbbVie (ABBV - Free Report) , Lilly (LLY - Free Report) , Celgene, Nektar, Infinity Pharmaceuticals and Seattle Genetics for evaluating Opdivo in combination with respective cancer treatments.

In November 2018, Bristol-Myers signed a collaboration contract with Infinity Pharmaceuticals to evaluate the combination of Opdivo and the latter’s investigational immunotherapy, IPI-549, for the treatment of advanced urothelial cancer, a type of bladder cancer. The main idea of the study is to check whether targeting the tumor microenvironment with IPI-549 will increase the activity of Opdivo for subjects suffering urothelial cancer.

We would like to remind investors that in July 2014, Opdivo became the first PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor to gain a regulatory approval. It is currently approved in several countries including the United States, the EU and Japan for several cancer indications.

Opdivo generated sales of $4.93 billion in the first nine months of 2018, reflecting a surge of 37% year over year. The drug continues to be a top revenue generator for the company.

Meanwhile, Bristol-Myers is working on expanding the label of Opdivo further. Label expansion into additional indications would provide the product with access to a higher patient population and raise its commercial potential substantially.

Zacks Rank

Bristol-Myers currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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