AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb team up to test smal-cell lung cancer treatment

SCLC is a difficult-to-treat form of cancer accounting for 15 percent of all lung cancer cases.   File image

AbbVie and Bristol-Myers Squibb are collaborating to evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of AbbVie's investigational biomarker-specific antibody drug conjugate Rova-T paired with Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo and Opdivo + Yervoy as a treatment for relapsed extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

The program will explore the potential of combining Bristol-Myers Squibb's immuno-oncology agents, which are designed to alleviate immune suppression, with AbbVie's investigational antibody drug conjugate to improve the current standard of care. Rova-T is a unique antibody drug conjugate that targets and eliminates tumor initiating cells and bulk tumor cells. This collaboration will determine if the targeted cell killing can enhance the effect of immunotherapy.

"We are excited to explore the potential benefits of combining Bristol-Myers Squibb's immunotherapies with a targeted approach like Rova-T in small cell lung cancer where the need for new therapies is particularly acute for this aggressive form of lung cancer," Jean Viallet, Bristol-Myers Squibb's global clinical research lead for oncology, said. "As the science around cancer research continues to rapidly evolve, we are building on our leadership in Immuno-Oncology with numerous collaborations that may help advance new therapies for cancers in need of better options."

"We believe the combination of these cancer-fighting agents may offer patients a new treatment option in a disease with limited therapies," Scott Dylla, AbbVie's vice president of research and development, said. "By combining immune-checkpoint inhibitors that prime the body's immune system to fight cancer cells with Rova-T's approach to target cancer stem cells, we hope to build on our goal to develop differentiated treatments with therapeutic benefit that elevate the standard of care for small cell lung cancer patients."

SCLC is a difficult-to-treat form of cancer accounting for 15 percent of all lung cancer cases. The five-year survival rate for extensive-stage SCLC is less than 5 percent and treatment options thus far have been limited.

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