Ipilimumab: Timeline of a melanoma drug

The FDA today approved Yervoy (ipilimumbab) Bristol-Myers Squibb's payoff thanks to its $2.4 billion buyout of Medarex in 2009. While the antibody therapy has been linked to some severe side effects, analysts have noted its higher one- and two-year survival rates for patients with melanoma. Here's a look back at some of the highs and lows in ipilimumbab's history.

Date: March 22, 2011
Scoop: Days before the FDA is set to make its decision, BMS released new Phase III data showing ipilimumab increased survival in advanced melanoma patients who had not previously received treatment by four months. Though the details of the data haven't been revealed, the note has experts looking positively at the drug's chances for approval. Report

Date: November 2, 2010
Scoop: Nearly two months before the decision deadline, the FDA postponed its judgment of the melanoma drug until March 26, 2011, some three months after the original date, December 25. The agency stated it needed more time to review the company's amended BLA in order to make an informed decision on the drug's future. Report

Date: August 19, 2010
Scoop: The FDA set its ipilimumab decision deadline as December 25 as part of its accelerated review of the promising, though potentially side-effect-ridden drug. Experts believed the drug could be worth between $1 billion and $1.5 billion annually. According to study results, over 44 percent of patients treated with ipilimumab were alive after one year compared to 25 percent of control patients. Report

Date: July 23, 2009
Scoop: As BMS focused itself on its pharma business to compensate for the coming Plavix patent dropoff, it picked up Medarex for $2.1 billion, gaining ipilimumab as a result. Report

Date: June 22, 2009
Scoop: New data boosted Medarex's shares 17 percent and made researchers plan for a new clinical trial for a higher dosage of the drug. Two men in the previous trial, who had inoperable prostate cancer, became cancer free thanks to the tumor-shrinking drug. Twenty more patients also showed improvement. Report

Date: June 3, 2008
Scoop: Medarex was hit with some harsh news as results showed ipilimumab did not extend patients' lives by a statistically significant margin. Patients receiving a combo therapy lived a median of 449 days, compared to 351 days on ipilimumab alone. Report

Date: April 28, 2008
The company announced its application for the melanoma drug would be delayed until 2009, as Medarex worked to acquire more data for the FDA. Its shares slid on the news, which had plummeted to half their summer 2007 value. Report

Ipilimumab: Timeline of a melanoma drug

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