The Upshot — At ASCO 2015? Opdivo® Holds Its 12 Month Lead

The meta-narrative here is that the way we treat cancers — almost all of them — is about to change forever. And the closer-focus story is that two companies, Bristol Meyers Squibb and Merck, are greatly boosting the survival chances of patients with a wide array of otherwise life threatening cancers. This is an astounding moment in the history of biological science. Sit tight, and watch the wires — this is history, unfolding.

More later — butThe more mundane investment strategy narrative holds that BMS keeps the near term lead — while Merck may get an opening in about two years — on the emerging reduced effectiveness of the BMS Opdivo® offering, in tumors that do not robustly express PD-L1.

Here it is, from John Carroll at FierceBiotech:

. . . .Evercore ISI’s Mark Schoenebaum also notes that conversely patients with low levels of PD-L1 were far less likely to benefit from Bristol’s drug. That “raises questions, including whether patients with non-squamous lung cancer in the 2nd line setting would (rather than simply just taking Opdivo) want to have their tumor tested for PDL1 expression before starting PD1 or PDL1 antibodies. In such a scenario, if a patient is willing to undergo a biopsy (which has some risk – small but real) the possibility arises that patients choose a diagnostic assay and antibody from a different company, such as Merck and Roche,” Schoenebaum wrote in a note to investors.. . .

Off to catch the movies and some dinner. . . Woot!

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