Bristol Myers Squibb reported promising news on its experimental cancer immunotherapy relatlimab after late-stage clinical data showed that when combined with the company’s blockbuster drug Opdivo, it was better at stopping melanoma from progressing.
Opdivo is a type of immunotherapy called a checkpoint inhibitor that blocks PD-1 protein and enables immune cells to recognize and go after cancer cells. Relatlimab is also a checkpoint inhibitor, but it targets a different checkpoint protein called lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG-3). By blocking both checkpoint proteins, the combination may offer a stronger immune response against cancer.
“While there have been significant treatment advances and long-term survival benefits provided by checkpoint inhibitors over the years, there remain patients with metastatic melanoma who could benefit from another innovative approach,” said Jonathan Cheng, senior vice president and head of oncology development at BMS.