Bristol-Myers Shares Gain as Lung Cancer Study Ended Early

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. shares rose after observers halted a study of its Opdivo drug in lung-cancer patients, saying more patients lived by using the treatment instead of chemotherapy.

The company gained 3.1 percent to $62.18 at the close in New York. The shares have increased 11 percent in the past year, compared with a 24 percent rise for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Pharmaceuticals Index.

Bristol-Myers is competing with Merck & Co., Roche Holding AG and Novartis AG to produce treatments for use in multiple forms of cancer. Opdivo, or nivolumab, was approved last month by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for advanced melanoma, and the medicine has shown promise for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

An independent committee halted the Phase 3 trial of 272 patients with advanced, squamous cell lung cancer after concluding that Opdivo was showing a superior survival rate, Bristol-Myers said yesterday in a statement. The company will provide the data to regulators.

The medicine is part of a class in one of the hottest areas of cancer research, known as immunotherapy because it stimulates patients’ immune systems to work more effectively against the disease.

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