The BMS drug, ipilimumab, for the treatment of late-stage melanoma did receive FDA-approval as expected today. The drug will now be marketed under the name Yervoy (Oy! Where do they get these names? Sounds like industrial plant in Irkutsk).
Yervoy has been shown to extend patient survival in the 4 month range in clinical trials. It is intended for patients in the late stages of disease who have failed to respond to other medications and treatments. It doesn't come without its own risks as 2-3 percent of patients taking the drugs have developed fatal complications due to its immune suppression effects. The drug targets CTLA-4 and inhibits T-cell function in a generally immune suppressing fashion. Despite this, its drawbacks are outweighed by its advantages in this patient class.
Consensus analyst predictions call for sales of $820 million by 2015, although worldwide estmates may range as high as $1.7 billion. The BMS stock price went up 2 percent today on the news of the drug's approval. See Reuters.
Posted by Bruce Lehr March 25th 2011.