Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) said today it will partner with Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Biotech on a clinical trial to study combination immuno-oncology treatments, through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

The collaboration will assess the combination of BMS’ marketed immuno-oncology agent Opdivo® (nivolumab) with Janssen’s JNJ-64041757 in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The Phase II clinical trial will evaluate the tolerability and clinical activity of the combination of these agents in NSCLC patients, BMS said.

“We are excited to collaborate with Janssen as we explore how the emerging science of antigen-presentation therapeutics, in combination with Opdivo, can potentially provide a new treatment approach for patients with lung cancer,” Jean Viallet, M.D., BMS global clinical research lead, oncology, said in a statement.

JNJ-64041757 (formerly ADU-214) is an antigen-presentation therapeutic, based on a live attenuated double-deleted (LADD) Listeria monocytogenes cancer immunotherapy expressing mesothelin and epidermal growth factor receptor variant III (EGFRvIII). Now in Phase I clinical development for lung cancer, JNJ-64041757 is an antigen-presentation therapeutic engineered to induce an immune response against NSCLC tumors.

The partnership is the second announced in as many days by BMS that is aimed at studying Opdivo with other immuno-oncology treatments. Just yesterday, BMS and AbbVie launched a clinical collaboration that will assess combinations of AbbVie’s Rova-T (rovalpituzumab tesirine) with Opdivo and an immuno-oncology regimen combining Opdivo with another marketed BMS immune-oncology treatment, Yervoy® (ipilimumab), in patients with relapsed extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer (SCLC).

Also in recent weeks, BMS has sought to shore up its cancer and immuno-oncology development efforts by acquiring Cormorant Pharmaceuticals, a developer of cancer and rare-disease therapies, for up to $520 million and launching a combination study of Opdivo with PsiOxus Therapeutics’ enadenotucirev in a range of tumor types.

Opdivo is indicated for the treatment of patients with NSCLC with progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy. Opdivo was the first PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor to receive regulatory approval anywhere in the world in July 2014 and now has regulatory approval in 54 countries including the U.S., the EU, and Japan.

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