Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) and Merck (NYSE:MRK) are actively planning large scale “strategic” trials to determine the optimal sequence of chemotherapy and immunotherapy in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), said a source familiar with the situation. The source also noted BMS is interested in conducting trials to determine the optimal maintenance length for its immunotherapies especially with regards to immunotherapy combinations that may carry significant toxicity risks, he explained.
BMS’ Opdivo (nivolumab) and Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) are PD-1 inhibitors approved for use in second line NSCLC. This news service reported on 27 April that both drugs’ first line NSCLC trials had raised questions over the optimal sequence of immunotherapy and chemotherapy.
The source noted that both BMS and Merck have been consulting with academic centres and oncologists in the field to design and initiate these trials. The aim of these trials will be to answer the recurrent questions of optimal sequencing of chemotherapy and immunotherapy within the physician community, the source said.