Pharmalot (see below, but do go read it all).
Longer term, the race will be won by the company that gets approval in the heaviest burden cancers. But both BMS and Merck are lead pipe cinches to win approval -- and likely before year end 2014, for each.
. . . .The agreement comes days after Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Celgene Corp. said they agreed to collaborate on a clinical study for a treatment that would combine immunotherapy and chemotherapy to combat pancreatic, lung and breast cancers.
Pharmaceutical companies are jockeying for position in the rapidly growing cancer-treatment market. Immunotherapy, which uses immune systems to fight the disease, is driving much of the expansion.
Merck said in February that it had reached three separate agreements to collaborate on studies of pembrolizumab in in combination with therapies from Pfizer, Amgen Inc. and Incyte Corp. The company has sought to test the drug for effectiveness on a wide range of cancers.
The study announced Tuesday will test a combination of Merck's investigational antibody pembrolizumab and Pfizer's crizotinib, also known as the brand name Xalkori, which is indicated for the treatment of nonsmall-cell lung cancer. . . .
As ever, we will keep an eye on the BMS-generated nivolumab progression, which has been excellent -- outstanding, in fact -- as well. Most informed watchers grant the overall efficacy nod to BMS's candidate, to be fair.