Another one of Bristol-Myers’ PD-1/CTLA-4 combo studies bites the dust

Bristol-Myers Squibb can move another Opdivo/Yervoy combo study to the loss column.

In its quarterly review out Thursday morning, the troubled giant noted briefly that their Phase II study comparing the PD-1/CTLA-4 combo against Opdivo alone failed in patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

All we know right now is that the top-line data demonstrate the combo failed its primary endpoints: the overall response rate as well as duration of response, according to clinicaltrials.gov.

At this point, the PD-1/CTLA-4 combo failures are piling up. Bristol-Myers made this a prime portion of their competitive R&D strategy, only to watch Merck leapfrog their megablockbuster PD-1 with a combo that paired Keytruda with chemo.

Checkmate 451, for example, presented a major failure in small cell lung cancer. Despite setbacks at Bristol-Myers and AstraZeneca, where the in-house CTLA-4 tremelimumab has been a bust so far, the target remains a core feature of the checkpoint combo world.

Bristol-Myers failures come as its multibillion-dollar checkpoint franchise has seen sales start to level off — a driver behind the $74 billion Celgene acquisition.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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