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Bristol-Myers, Nektar expand collaboration to trials in bladder cancer, melanoma

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Nektar Therapeutics have revised a collaboration to advance their cancer therapies into new clinical trials in melanoma and bladder cancer.

The collaboration involves Nektar's investigational therapy bempegaldesleukin, or bempeg, and Bristol-Myers' marketed cancer medicine Opdivo, or nivolumab. The companies already have three ongoing trials in melanoma, urothelial cancer and kidney carcinoma.

Under the expanded agreement, the companies will add two trials in melanoma and in muscle-invasive bladder cancer and commence an expanded phase 1/2 trial of the two drugs plus Pfizer Inc.'s Inlyta, also known as axitinib, to collect information for a future trial.

Bristol-Myers will also independently pursue a Phase 1/2 dose optimization study of the two drugs in non-small-cell lung cancer.

Costs for the new trials will be shared based on the original terms of the deal. The companies did not disclose the financial arrangements in a Jan. 10 press release.

In an unrelated deal also announced Jan. 10, Bristol-Myers signed a licensing deal with ANP Technologies Inc. to develop new therapies for the blood cancers myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia. ANP licensed the rights to develop a targeted therapy to new Bristol-Myers acquisition Celgene. Financial terms of the deal also were not disclosed.