Bristol-Myers Squibb and Five Prime Therapeutics Collaborate on Development of Immunomodulator

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Opdivo and investigational agent FPA008 will be tested in combination for their efficacy in boosting antitumor immune response.

There are two more companies linking up in the co-development of immunotherapies in oncology: Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and Five Prime Therapeutics. The two entities have agreed to evaluate the efficacy of BMS’ Opdivo (nivolumab) in combination with Five Prime’s investigational programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitor FPA008 for the treatment of six different tumor types. These include non-small cell lung cancer, melanoma, head and neck cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, and malignant glioma.

“[BMS'] vision aligns with our commitment to advancing promising immune-modulating targets, alone or in combination, to create next-generation immunotherapies for cancer patients,” said Lewis T. “Rusty” Williams, MD, PhD, president and CEO of Five Prime, in a press release. “We look forward to initiating this study and expanding the development of FPA008 as a potential immunotherapy for these six types of cancer.”

Nivolumab works by blocking ligand activation of the PD-1 receptor on activated T cells. The drug, approved in Japan as Opdivo for the treatment of patients with unresectable melanoma, is "the first PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor to receive regulatory approval anywhere in the world," BMS says. Five Prime’s monoclonal antibody FPA008 inhibits colony stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF1R). According to BMS, preclinical data suggest that combining CSF1R with antibodies targeting PD-1 may enhance the immune response to cancer cells.


BMS is already enrolling participants in Phase III clinical trials of nivolumab for renal cell carcinoma, lung cancer, melanoma, and advanced or metastatic solid tumors; and Phase I trials for various other malignancies. Five Prime is currently testing its drug candidate as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and will also be developed as a treatment for solid tumors.