Merck (MRK +2.5%) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY -0.7%) are going in opposite directions, albeit both on below-average volume. Investors appear to be reacting to late-stage data in first-line renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common type of kidney cancer, that will be presented at the upcoming ASCO GU Cancers Symposium in San Francisco.
Topline results from the Phase 3 KEYNOTE-426 study evaluating Keytruda (pembrolizumab) plus Pfizer's (PFE +0.5%) Inlyta (axitinib) in first-line RCC showed an overall response rate (ORR) of 59.3% with 47% less risk of death (hazard ratio = 0.53).
Topline data from the CheckMate-214 trial evaluating Opdivo (nivolumab) plus low-dose Yervoy (ipilimumab) showed a 41% response rate in the intent-to-treat population with a more modest 29% less risk of death (hazard ratio = 0.71).
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