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Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo misses its shot at earlier use in liver cancer

June 24, 2019 / Angus Liu

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo already boasts an FDA approval in liver cancer patients who have been treated with Bayer’s Nexavar. But its quest to jump into the front line just hit a snag. The BMS PD-1 drug failed to beat Nexavar at extending patients’ lives in a phase 3 study, the company acknowledged Monday. The Bayer drug has long been as the standard of care for patients with newly diagnosed hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), competition-free in that indication until Eisai and Merck & Co.’s Lenvima just recently joined it. While Bristol’s survival data didn’t meet the statistical significance bar in the trial, dubbed CheckMate-459, BMS said there was “a clear trend” toward improvement with Opdivo. With an accelerated second-line nod the FDA granted in 2017, “Bristol seemed to be well positioned from a timing perspective,” in the liver cancer market, which numbers about 11,000 patients in the U.S., Credit Suisse analyst Va...