NICE backs use of Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo, Yervoy combination for melanoma

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence issued draft guidance Friday backing NHS reimbursement for the combination of Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab) for patients with melanoma. The European Commission approved the combination last month for the treatment of advanced melanoma in adults, making the drugs the first and only approved combination of two immuno-oncology agents in the EU.

"After one of the fastest drug appraisals NICE has carried out, these promising new immunotherapy treatments for advanced melanoma look set to significantly extend the life of people with the condition," remarked Carole Longson, director of NICE's Centre for Health Technology Evaluation. "The evidence we examined was very promising and I know further trials are ongoing which have also released encouraging data," Longson added, with NICE noting that patients in England will be the first in Europe to have access to the combination treatment.

According to NICE, the list price for the combination of Opdivo, which targets PD-1, and Yervoy, which targets CTLA-4, is approximately 78 500 pounds ($111 930) per patient. Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to supply the drugs to the NHS at an undisclosed discount.

The positive decision on Opdivo and Yervoy follows a recent negative appraisal from NICE on the use of Roche's MEK inhibitor Cotellic (cobimetinib) in combination with its BRAF inhibitor Zelboraf (vemurafenib) for treating unresectable or metastatic melanoma in adults with a BRAF V600 mutation. The agency indicated that while Roche's combination offered life-extending benefits, the proposed price was too high when compared to alternative treatments.

To read more Top Story articles, click here.