Date: 22-Sep-2020

EMA Committee Recommends Approval Of Bristol Myers Opdivo Plus Yervoy With Two Cycles Of Chemotherapy To Treat Metastatic NSCLC

Bristol Myers Squibb announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended approval of Opdivo (nivolumab) plus Yervoy (ipilimumab) with two cycles of platinum-based chemotherapy for the first-line treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adults whose tumors have no sensitizing EGFR mutation or ALK translocation.

The European Commission (EC), which has the authority to approve medicines for the European Union (EU), will now review the CHMP recommendation.

“This positive CHMP opinion reflects the potential for Opdivo plus Yervoy with two cycles of chemotherapy to offer the chance for a longer life to patients across subgroups of metastatic NSCLC, a devastating cancer where unmet needs still exist,” said Abderrahim Oukessou, M.D., vice president, thoracic cancers development lead, Bristol Myers Squibb. “We look forward to the EC’s decision and hope to soon introduce this innovative, dual immunotherapy approach to patients across the EU who may benefit.”

The CHMP adopted the positive opinion based on results from the phase 3 CheckMate -9LA trial, which met the primary endpoint of superior overall survival (OS). The safety profile of Opdivo plus Yervoy and two cycles of chemotherapy was reflective of the known safety profiles of the immunotherapy and chemotherapy components in first-line NSCLC. The full data from the CheckMate -9LA trial were featured in an oral session at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2020 (ASCO20) Virtual Scientific Program.

To date, the combination of Opdivo plus Yervoy with two cycles of chemotherapy has been approved in nine countries, including the US, for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic NSCLC. Approval by the EC would mark the third indication for Opdivo plus Yervoy­-based combinations in the EU, following previous approvals in metastatic melanoma and advanced renal cell carcinoma.

Bristol Myers Squibb thanks the patients and investigators who were involved in the CheckMate -9LA clinical trial.

CheckMate -9LA is an open-label, multi-center, randomized phase 3 trial evaluating Opdivo (360 mg Q3W) plus Yervoy (1 mg/kg Q6W) combined with histology-based chemotherapy (two cycles) compared to chemotherapy alone (up to four cycles followed by optional pemetrexed maintenance therapy if eligible) as a first-line treatment in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) regardless of PD-L1 expression and histology. Patients in the experimental arm (n=361) were treated with dual immunotherapy for up to two years or until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Patients in the control arm (n=358) were treated with up to four cycles of chemotherapy and optional pemetrexed maintenance (if eligible) until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary endpoint of the trial was overall survival (OS) in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population. Secondary hierarchical endpoints included progression-free survival (PFS) and overall response rate (ORR) as assessed by blinded independent review committee. Exploratory analyses from the study evaluated efficacy measures according to biomarkers.


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 treated more than 35,000 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 65 countries, including the United States, the European Union, Japan and China. 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.

Yervoy is a recombinant, human monoclonal antibody that binds to the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4). CTLA-4 is a negative regulator of T-cell activity. Yervoy binds to CTLA-4 and blocks the interaction of CTLA-4 with its ligands, CD80/CD86. Blockade of CTLA-4 has been shown to augment T-cell activation and proliferation, including the activation and proliferation of tumor infiltrating T-effector cells. Inhibition of CTLA-4 signaling can also reduce T-regulatory cell function, which may contribute to a general increase in T-cell responsiveness, including the anti-tumor immune response. On March 25, 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Yervoy 3 mg/kg monotherapy for patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma. Yervoy is approved for unresectable or metastatic melanoma in more than 50 countries. There is a broad, ongoing development program in place for Yervoy spanning multiple tumor types.