Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to supply Bavarian Nordic with Opdivo for use in a clinical trial assessing the immunotherapy in combination with experimental drug CV301.

The Danish biotech is planning to enrol around 160 patients in the Phase II trial, which is designed to explore the benefit of combining CV301 with Opdivo in patients with previously treated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

CV301 targets two tumour-associated antigens, CEA and MUC-1, which are over-expressed in major cancer types, including lung, bladder and colorectal cancer.

Preclinical data have shown CV301's ability to up-regulate PD-L1 by mounting an immune response against a tumour target, presenting an opportunity for a greater response in patients who might otherwise not benefit from treatment with a checkpoint inhibitor alone, the firm noted.

Under the deal, Bavarian Nordic continues to retain all commercial rights for CV301, and there is no obligation on behalf of BMS, beyond the contribution of drug material.

The Phase II study is to be initiated later this year.