BMS and Janssen Collaborate to Test New Combination Immunotherapy against Lung Cancer


Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) tied up with Janssen Biotech Inc. to evaluate the combination therapy of BMS’s PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, Opdivo (nivolumab) with the Janssen’s investigational immunotherapy, JNJ-64041757 for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

janssen biocon partnershipThe combination immunotherapies in the immuno-oncology space is creating a fresh stir in the combinatorial cancer treatment space. They have shown promising clinical data and lesser side effects than traditional cancer treatment.

Speaking about this new combination, JNJ-64041757 is an antigen-presentation therapy, which is based on Live Attenuated Double-Deleted (LADD) Listeria monocytogenes strains. These strains are  engineered to induce an immune response against NSCLC tumors. It is currently in its Phase I clinical development stage for lung cancer.

Opdivo is a humanized monoclonal antibody and functions as a checkpoint inhibitor which interacts with the PD-1 receptor on the T-cells and prevents them from binding with the PD-L1 receptors on the cancer cells thereby, activating the immune response of the body to kill cancer cells. It is for the treatment of NSCLC patients showing progression or after platinum-based chemotherapy.


Figure 1. PD-L1 interference affects B7.1 and PD-1 binding (photo credit: F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd).

The tolerability and clinical activity of this cocktail therapy will be evaluated for the NSCLC patients in the Phase II clinical study. The study will be conducted by Janssen.

In the immuno-oncology field, Opdivo has also been approved in combination with BMS’s another immunotherapy, Yervoy (ipilimumab) for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma patients.

These combinatorial immunotherapy will help BMS to create a niche for itself in the immunotherapy field where the competition is tough from Merck’s immuno-oncology blockbuster drug, Keytruda, Roche’s Tecentriq and many other big drugmakers trying to enter this cancer immunotherapy space.

We are excited to collaborate with Janssen as we explore how the emerging science of antigen-presentation therapeutics, in combination with Opdivo, can potentially provide a new treatment approach for patients with lung cancer,” said Jean Viallet, M.D., Global Clinical Research Lead, Oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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