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Prix Galien Canada for innovation awarded to first treatment to show survival benefit for patients with the most deadly form of skin cancer


Yervoy , melanoma


Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada is pleased to announce that YERVOY® (ipilimumab) a novel immuno-oncology therapy for metastatic melanoma has been awarded the Prix Galien Canada 2013 Innovative Product Award. This award, presented at a ceremony last night in Montreal, recognizes the significant impact Yervoy has had in treating this most aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer.

Yervoy, which has now been approved in more than 40 countries around the world, was approved by Health Canada in February 2012 as the first and only treatment for advanced melanoma proven to extend survival in a phase three trial. Yervoy is indicated for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma in patients who have failed or do not tolerate other systemic therapy for advanced disease.

“We are very proud of the difference Yervoy has made, and will continue to make, in the lives of Canadians with metastatic melanoma and their families,” said Awny Farajallah, Vice-President, Medical, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada. “Yervoy represents the important progress we have made in immuno-oncology, a rapidly-evolving field of cancer research and treatment focused on harnessing the power of the body’s immune system to fight cancer.”

Unlike traditional therapies that target the tumour,immuno-oncology agents are designed to harness the natural capabilities of the patient’s immune system to fight cancer by targeting the very same pathways tumor cells use to evade recognition and destruction.Yervoy specifically blocks cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4), which plays a role in suppressing the normal immune response. Yervoy blocks that suppression to allow the immune system to respond to melanoma cancer cells.

Yervoy clinical evidence

In a pivotal randomized phase three clinical study, the median overall survival was 10 months for Yervoy and six months for the comparator treatment, a peptide vaccine (gp100). Yervoy has also demonstrated durable long-term survival in some patients. The Kaplan-Meier estimated survival rate with Yervoy at both one and two years was almost doubled when measured against patients treated with gp100, 46 per cent versus 25 per cent at one year and 24 per cent versus 14 per cent at two years. Data were recently presented at the European Cancer Congress in Amsterdam in September on long-term survival results from a pooled analysis of 12 studies of Yervoy at different doses and regimens in more than 1,800 patients with metastatic or locally advanced or unresectable melanoma, which showed that approximately 22% of patients were alive at three years with some followed for up to 10 years.

The types of adverse events (AEs) attributed to Yervoy are generally related to its mechanism of action, that is, immune-based. Immune-mediated adverse reactions, sometimes fatal, include enterocolitis, intestinal perforation, hepatitis, dermatitis, neuropathy, endocrinopathy as well as toxicity in other organ systems. Adverse events associated with Yervoy are managed by the administration of systemic corticosteroids, dose discontinuation and/or the use of other immuno-suppressants.

About the Prix Galien Canada

The Prix Galien is the most prestigious award in the field of Canadian pharmaceutical research and innovation. Referred to as the Nobel Prize of pharmaceutical research, it recognizes the efforts and achievements of pharmaceutical research and development. The Prix Galien Canada is a branch of Innovation Life Canada.

About Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada

Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information, please visit