News Releases


Opdivo , Immunoscience


Starting today, the province of British Columbia (BC) will cover the cost of the immuno-oncology treatment OPDIVO® for eligible patients who have advanced, difficult-to-treat cancers.  BC is the first province in Canada to provide public reimbursement following the agreement signed last month with the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA). Yukon also recently agreed to cover treatment with OPDIVO® for these three tumour types, making it the first Canadian territory to do so.

OPDIVO® is an innovative medical treatment that harnesses the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells. In accordance with the pCPA agreement, the British Columbia Cancer Agency Branch (BCCA) will pay for treatment of OPDIVO® for three tumour types: metastatic melanoma[i], locally advanced or metastatic pre-treated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)[ii]and advanced or metastatic pre-treated renal cell carcinoma (RCC)[iii].

Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Canada.[iv] In BC, an estimated 10,100 people died of cancer last year, and 25,600 new cases were diagnosed.  Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the province.[v]   


OPDIVO®is a programmed death-1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitor that is designed to uniquely harness the body’s own immune system to help restore anti-tumour immune response. By harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, OPDIVO® has become an important treatment option across multiple cancers.

OPDIVO®’s leading global development program is based on Bristol-Myers Squibb’s scientific expertise in the field of immuno-oncology (I-O) and includes a broad range of clinical trials across all phases, including Phase 3, in a variety of tumour types. To date, the OPDIVO® clinical development program has enrolled more than 25,000 patients. The OPDIVO® trials have contributed to gaining a deeper understanding of the potential role of biomarkers in patient care, particularly regarding how patients may benefit from OPDIVO® across the continuum of PD-L1 expression.

In July 2014, OPDIVO® was the first PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor to receive regulatory approval anywhere in the world. OPDIVO® is currently approved in more than 60 countries, including Canada, the United States, the European Union and Japan. In October 2015, the company’s OPDIVO® + YERVOY® combination regimen was the first I-O combination to receive regulatory approval for the treatment of metastatic melanoma and is currently approved in more than 50 countries, including the United States and the European Union.

Bristol-Myers Squibb: At the Forefront of Immuno-Oncology Science & Innovation 

At Bristol-Myers Squibb, patients are at the center of everything we do. Our vision for the future of cancer care is focused on researching and developing transformational I-O medicines that will raise survival expectations in hard-to-treat cancers and will change the way patients live with cancer.

We are leading the scientific understanding of I-O through our extensive portfolio of investigational and approved agents, including the first combination of two I-O agents in metastatic melanoma, and our differentiated clinical development program, which is studying broad patient populations across more than 20 types of cancers with 11 clinical-stage molecules designed to target different immune system pathways. Our deep expertise and innovative clinical trial designs uniquely position us to advance the science of combinations across multiple tumours and potentially deliver the next wave of I-O combination regimens with a sense of urgency. We also continue to pioneer research that will help facilitate a deeper understanding of the role of immune biomarkers and inform which patients will benefit most from I-O therapies.

We understand making the promise of I-O a reality for the many patients who may benefit from these therapies requires not only innovation on our part but also close collaboration with leading experts in the field. Our partnerships with academia, government, advocacy and biotech companies support our collective goal of providing new treatment options to advance the standards of clinical practice.

About Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada Co.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada Co. 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 about Bristol-Myers Squibb global operations, visit Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada Co. has been delivering innovative medicines for serious diseases to Canadian patients in the areas of cardiovascular health, oncology, neuroscience, immunoscience and virology for over 80 years. Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada Co. employs over 300 people across the country. For more information, please visit