Pivotal Phase 3 CheckMate -227 Study Demonstrates Superior Progression-Free Survival (PFS) with the Opdivo Plus Yervoy Combination Versus Chemotherapy in First-Line Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Patients with High Tumor Mutation Burden (TMB)

First and only Phase 3 trial to evaluate and show a highly statistically significant PFS benefit with an I-O/I-O combination in first-line NSCLC patients with high TMB, regardless of PD-L1 expression

Results will be shared with regulatory authorities and presented at a future congress

Trial will continue as planned to assess the Opdivo plus Yervoy combination for the other co-primary endpoint of overall survival in patients whose tumors express PD-L1

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 —  Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) today announced that the ongoing Phase 3 CheckMate -227 study met its co-primary endpoint of progression-free survival (PFS) with the Opdivo (nivolumab) plus Yervoy (ipilimumab) combination versus chemotherapy in first-line advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients whose tumors have high (≥10 mutations/megabase, mut/mb) tumor mutation burden (TMB), regardless of PD-L1 expression. In the study, TMB was evaluated using Foundation Medicine’s (Nasdaq: FMI) analytically validated assay FoundationOne CDx. Additionally, based on an interim analysis for overall survival (OS), the Data Monitoring Committee recommended that the study continue. The safety profile was consistent with previously reported findings in first-line NSCLC for the combination schedule of Opdivo 3 mg/kg every two weeks and low-dose Yervoy (1 mg/kg) every six weeks.   

“TMB has emerged as an important biomarker for the activity of immunotherapy. For the first time, this Phase 3 study shows superior PFS with first-line combination immunotherapy in a predefined population of NSCLC patients with high TMB,” said Matthew D. Hellmann, M.D., study investigator and medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “CheckMate -227 showed that TMB is an important, independent predictive biomarker that can identify a population of first-line NSCLC patients who may benefit from the nivolumab plus ipilimumab combination.”    

Giovanni Caforio, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, commented, “We believe these data from CheckMate -227 are a breakthrough in cancer research and a meaningful step forward in determining which first-line lung cancer patients may benefit most from the combination of Opdivo and Yervoy. These findings attest to our deep understanding of cancer biology, leading translational medicine capabilities and commitment to developing new approaches for cancer patients.” 

About CheckMate -227

CheckMate -227 is an open-label Phase 3 trial with more than 2,500 patients randomized across non-squamous and squamous histologies, evaluating Opdivo-based regimens versus platinum-doublet chemotherapy in patients with first-line advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This large program is comprised of three parts – Parts 1a and 1b and Part 2.

Part 1a is evaluating Opdivo plus Yervoy and Opdivo monotherapy versus chemotherapy in patients whose tumors express PD-L1. Part 1b evaluated Opdivo plus Yervoy and Opdivo plus chemotherapy versus chemotherapy in patients whose tumors do not express PD-L1. PD-L1 expression levels were assessed using the Dako-developed diagnostic PD-L1 IHC 28-8 pharmDx.

Today’s announcement is based on an analysis of patients from the Opdivo plus Yervoy arms and chemotherapy arms across all of Part 1. There are two co-primary endpoints in Part 1 for the Opdivo plus Yervoy combination: overall survival (OS) in patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (assessed in patients enrolled in Part 1a) and progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with high tumor mutation burden (TMB), regardless of PD-L1 expression (assessed in patients enrolled across Parts 1a and 1b). Approximately 45% of the TMB-evaluable patients had tumors that expressed high (≥10 mut/mb) TMB in the study. BMS has an ongoing collaboration with Foundation Medicine and will continue the partnership to seek regulatory approval for the FoundationOne CDx as a companion diagnostic to assess TMB for the potential indication of Opdivo plus Yervoy in first-line NSCLC. 

Part 2 is evaluating Opdivo plus chemotherapy versus chemotherapy in a broad population with a primary endpoint of OS.

Opdivo and Yervoy are dosed as follows in the study: Opdivo 3 mg/kg every two weeks with low-dose Yervoy (1 mg/kg) every six weeks. 

About Tumor Mutation Burden (TMB)

Over time, cancer cells accumulate mutations that are not seen in normal cells of the body. Tumor mutation burden, or TMB, is a quantitative biomarker that reflects the total number of mutations carried by tumor cells. Tumor cells with high TMB have higher levels of neoantigens, which are thought to help the immune system recognize tumors and incite an increase in cancer-fighting T cells and an anti-tumor response. TMB is one type of biomarker that may help predict the likelihood a patient responds to immunotherapies.   

Bristol-Myers Squibb & Immuno-Oncology: Advancing Oncology Research

At Bristol-Myers Squibb, patients are at the center of everything we do. Our vision for the future of cancer care is focused on researching and developing transformational Immuno-Oncology (I-O) medicines for hard-to-treat cancers that could potentially improve outcomes for these patients.

We are leading the scientific understanding of I-O through our extensive portfolio of investigational compounds and approved agents. Our differentiated clinical development program is studying broad patient populations across more than 50 types of cancers with 14 clinical-stage molecules designed to target different immune system pathways. Our deep expertise and innovative clinical trial designs position us to advance I-O/I-O, I-O/chemotherapy, I-O/targeted therapies and I-O radiation therapies across multiple tumors and potentially deliver the next wave of therapies with a sense of urgency. We also continue to pioneer research that will help facilitate a deeper understanding of the role of immune biomarkers and how patients’ tumor biology can be used as a guide for treatment decisions throughout their journey.

We understand making the promise of I-O a reality for the many patients who may benefit from these therapies requires not only innovation on our part but also close collaboration with leading experts in the field. Our partnerships with academia, government, advocacy and biotech companies support our collective goal of providing new treatment options to advance the standards of clinical practice.

About Opdivo

Opdivo is a programmed death-1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitor that is designed to uniquely harness the body’s own immune system to help restore anti-tumor immune response. By harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, Opdivo has become an important treatment option across multiple cancers.

Opdivo’s leading global development program is based on Bristol-Myers Squibb’s scientific expertise in the field of Immuno-Oncology and includes a broad range of clinical trials across all phases, including Phase 3, in a variety of tumor types. To date, the Opdivo clinical development program has enrolled more than 25,000 patients. The Opdivo trials have contributed to gaining a deeper understanding of the potential role of biomarkers in patient care, particularly regarding how patients may benefit from Opdivo across the continuum of PD-L1 expression.

In July 2014, Opdivo was the first PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor to receive regulatory approval anywhere in the world. Opdivo is currently approved in more than 60 countries, including the United States, the European Union and Japan. In October 2015, the company’s Opdivo and Yervoy combination regimen was the first Immuno-Oncology combination to receive regulatory approval for the treatment of metastatic melanoma and is currently approved in more than 50 countries, including the United States and the European Union.


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Sabine de Beuf

Public Affairs Lead Benelux

Bristol-Myers Squibb