Bristol-Myers Squibb's cancer drug Yervoy has been recommended for a new melanoma indication by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The UK regulator has published new guidance endorsing the use of the ipilimumab therapy as a first-line treatment for patients with advanced malignant melanoma when the full tumour cannot be removed, or the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
“Bristol-Myers Squibb has received a NICE recommendation for the use of its drug Yervoy as a first-line treatment for patients with advanced malignant melanoma.“
Bristol-Myers Squibb has been able to prove the clinical benefits Yervoy can offer in these circumstances and has also agreed a patient access scheme with the Department of Health to sell the drug to the NHS at a discounted price.
Currently, there are few available therapy options for advanced melanoma, a disease for which prognoses are generally poor.
Professor Carole Longson, centre for health technology evaluation director at NICE, said: "New drugs such as ipilimumab can make a real difference. We already recommend it as a second-line treatment and are pleased to be able to extend that recommendation to first-line treatment too."
This comes after the firm announced that it has stopped a phase III trial of a new melanoma drug, nivolumab, earlier than expected due to the positive data generated thus far.