Merck, Pfizer’s combination immunotherapy set to become integral element of Renal Cell Carcinoma treatment

Bristol Myers Squibb's (BMS) checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo (nivolumab) will be an important driver of growth over the next few years

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(Photo Courtesy: www.oncology-central.com)

Merck KGaA and Pfizer's Phase III JAVELIN Renal 101 trial, which will assess the combination of the checkpoint inhibitor avelumab and Pfizer's anti-angiogenesis tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) Inlyta (axitinib) in the first-line renal cell carcinoma (RCC) setting, is the most likely immunotherapy combination to be first to market in the treatment space, according to an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

As explored in the company's latest RCC report, Bristol Myers Squibb's (BMS) checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo (nivolumab) will be an important driver of growth over the next few years.

After the drug's approval in November 2015 in the US and February 2016 in Europe, it established immunotherapy as the new standard of care in recurrent RCC.

Dr Maxime Bourgognon, GlobalData's Analyst covering Oncology and Hematology explains: "BMS is trialing Opdivo in combination with another checkpoint inhibitor, Yervoy (ipilimumab), an approach that results in a synergistic mechanism of action. This is different to Merck KGaA and Pfizer's use of TKIs, which has shown the ability to reduce myeloid-derived suppressor cells, alleviating the immunosuppression by the tumor and enhancing the efficacy of immunotherapies.

"It is difficult to accurately predict which approach is clinically more promising; however, GlobalData believes that the safety profiles of the combination agents will play a key role in their establishment as standard of care in first-line RCC. Indeed, Inlyta is one of the safest TKIs currently approved for RCC, making its combination with avelumab promising.

 

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