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Bristol-Myers Squibb CompanyBMY announced that it has signed a collaboration deal with Infinity Pharmaceuticals INFI to evaluate the combination of its PD-1 inhibitor, Opdivo, and the latter's investigational immunotherapy, IPI-549, for the treatment of advanced urothelial cancer, a type of bladder cancer.

Infinity will conduct and operate the study. The phase II MARIO-275 study will enroll approximately 150 patients that will compare the Opdivo + IPI-549 combo with Opdivo alone in advanced urothelial cancer patients, whose disease has progressed or recurred following treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy. The study's primary endpoint will be its overall response rate.

Per the company, the main idea of the study is to check whether targeting the tumor microenvironment with IPI-549 will increase the activity of Opdivo for subjects with urothelial cancer.

The evaluation is expected to start in the first half of 2019. Notably, the combination drugs are already being examined in a phase I/Ib study on patients with advanced solid tumors.

Bristol-Myers' clinical study collaboration with Infinity to assess the IPI-549/Opdivo combination bodes well for the former.

Opdivo gained a regulatory nod for the first indication in July 2014. It is currently approved across several countries for several cancer indications. Potential approval for other diseases will further boost prospects of this blockbuster drug.

Opdivo retained its impressive performance with sales surging 42% year over year to $1.79 billion. Evidently, it became the top revenue generator for the company in third-quarter 2018.

In October, Bristol-Myers announced that it has entered into a clinical trial agreement with Compugen CGEN . Per the deal, both companies will evaluate the safety and tolerability of Compugen's COM701, an investigational antibody, combined with Opdivo for treating patients afflicted with advanced solid tumors.

Bristol-Myers has deals inked with several other research institutes plus small and large biotech as well as pharma giants for studying Opdivo in combination with their cancer treatments. The leading names include Johns Hopkins University, Johnson & Johnson JNJ AbbVie, Five Prime, Lilly, Celgene, Celldex, Nektar, Infinity Pharma and Seattle Genetics among others.

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