The two companies have been working together since 2009 in the development of the drug Opidvo (Nivolumab) for the treatment of unresectable melanoma, and earlier this month Ono received manufacturing and marketing authorisation from Japanese regulators, marking the first anti-PD-1 (programmed death-1) approval worldwide.
Following this success, BM-S said in an announcement this week it has signed a strategic collaboration agreement with Ono to develop and commercialise Opidvo and Yervoy (ipilimumab) - a CTLA-4 immune checkpoint inhibitor - across a number of other tumour types.
The collaboration will help address the unmet medical needs of patients with cancer in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan and “supports our goal to maximize the full potential of our immuno-oncology portfolio for patients worldwide,” said Lamberto Andreotti, BMS’ CEO.
Ono’s CEO Gyo Sagara added: “By pursuing the study of investigational combination regimens of immunotherapies with Bristol-Myers Squibb, we hope to bring a range of new therapeutic options to cancer patients.”
According to BMS’ 2013 annual report, full year sales of Yervoy were $960m (€714m), up 36% on 2012.