Bristol-Myers Squibb and Apexigen, Inc. Announce Clinical Collaboration to Evaluate Opdivo (nivolumab) in Combination with APX005M in Advanced Solid Tumors

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Source: Bristol-Myers Squibb

NEW YORK & SAN CARLOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) and Apexigen, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing antibody-based therapeutics for the treatment of cancer with an emphasis on new Immuno-Oncology (I-O) agents, today announced a clinical trial collaboration to evaluate Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab) in combination with Apexigen’s APX005M in patients with advanced solid tumors. APX005M is an investigational compound that is designed to activate CD40, a key immune co-stimulatory receptor essential to regulating the activation of both innate and adaptive immune responses against cancer.

The proposed collaboration will evaluate the safety, tolerability and preliminary efficacy of APX005M in combination with Opdivo in second-line metastatic NSCLC patients who have failed prior chemotherapy, and in metastatic melanoma patients who have failed prior I-O therapy.

Preclinical data suggest that APX005M mimics the endogenous immune activation process through activation of CD40. A receptor on the surface of antigen presenting cells of the immune system, CD40 plays a fundamental role in the activation of both innate and adaptive immune system mechanisms. Opdivo is designed to overcome PD-1 pathway related immune suppression. The companies will explore the potential of combining these two agents with the goal of effectively activating antigen presenting cells (APC) in the tumor microenvironment, thus driving a more productive and sustained immune response against the tumor.

“Targeting the tumor microenvironment through activation of antigen-presenting cells is a novel approach that we are excited to add to our Immuno-Oncology strategy as we continue to advance research for cancers with limited treatment options,” stated Fouad Namouni, M.D., head of Oncology Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Our agreement with Apexigen builds on our continued focus to bring forward potential novel combination treatment options for patients with cancer.”

“APX005M has demonstrated immune stimulation in patients with solid tumors in a Phase 1 study,” said Xiaodong Yang, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of Apexigen. “Based on scientific rationale and demonstrated data, we are excited about the new combination studies with Opdivo and APX005M.”

Opdivo was the first PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor to receive regulatory approval anywhere in the world in July 2014, and currently has regulatory approval in 57 countries including the United States, Japan, and in the European Union.

APX005M is a novel, humanized investigational monoclonal antibody designed to reverse the systemic immune suppression that typically affects cancer patients. APX005M is designed to activate CD40, a co-stimulatory receptor that is essential for activating both innate and adaptive immune systems.

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

At Bristol-Myers Squibb, we have a vision for the future of cancer care that is focused on Immuno-Oncology, now considered a major treatment choice alongside surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and targeted therapies for certain types of cancer.

We have a comprehensive clinical portfolio of investigational and approved Immuno-Oncology agents, many of which were discovered and developed by our scientists. Our ongoing Immuno-Oncology clinical program is looking at broad patient populations, across multiple solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, and lines of therapy and histologies, with the intent of powering our trials for overall survival and other important measures like durability of response. We pioneered the research leading to the first regulatory approval for the combination of two Immuno-Oncology agents and continue to study the role of combinations in cancer.

We are also investigating other immune system pathways in the treatment of cancer including CTLA-4, CD-137, KIR, SLAMF7, PD-1, GITR, CSF1R, IDO and LAG-3. These pathways may lead to potential new treatment options – in combination or monotherapy – to help patients fight different types of cancers.

Our collaboration with academia, as well as small and large biotech and pharmaceutical companies, to research the potential of Immuno-Oncology and non-Immuno-Oncology combinations helps achieve our goal of providing new treatment options in clinical practice.

At Bristol-Myers Squibb, we are committed to changing survival expectations in hard-to-treat cancers and the way patients live with cancer.

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.

About the Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical Collaboration

In 2011, through a collaboration agreement with Ono Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (Ono), Bristol-Myers Squibb expanded its territorial rights to develop and commercialize Opdivo globally except in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, where Ono had retained all rights to the compound at the time. On July 23, 2014, Ono and Bristol-Myers Squibb further expanded the companies’ strategic collaboration agreement to jointly develop and commercialize multiple immunotherapies – as single agents and combination regimens – for patients with cancer in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

About Bristol-Myers Squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol-Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedInTwitterYouTube and Facebook.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Forward-Looking Statement

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding the research, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products. Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and involve inherent risks and uncertainties, including factors that could delay, divert or change any of them, and could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially from current expectations. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Among other risks, there can be no guarantee that the compounds discussed in this release will be successfully developed or approved for any of the indications described in this release. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Bristol-Myers Squibb's business, particularly those identified in the cautionary factors discussion in Bristol-Myers Squibb's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015 in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and our Current Reports on Form 8-K. Bristol-Myers Squibb undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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