Skip to main content

Bristol Myers Squibb Announces RELATIVITY-047, a Trial Evaluating Anti-LAG-3 Antibody Relatlimab and Opdivo (nivolumab) in Patients with Previously Untreated Metastatic or Unresectable Melanoma, Meets Primary Endpoint of Progression-Free Survival

Update: Opdualag (nivolumab and relatlimab-rmbw) Now FDA Approved - March 18, 2022

PRINCETON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE) March 25, 2021 -- Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) today announced primary results from the Phase 2/3 RELATIVITY-047 (CA224-047) trial evaluating the fixed-dose combination of relatlimab, an anti-LAG-3 antibody, and Opdivo (nivolumab) versus Opdivo alone in patients with previously untreated metastatic or unresectable melanoma. The trial met its primary endpoint of progression-free survival (PFS). Follow up for overall survival, a secondary endpoint, is ongoing. The fixed-dose combination was well-tolerated and there were no new safety signals reported in either the relatlimab and Opdivo combination arm or the Opdivo arm. These are the first Phase 3 data to be reported from a trial evaluating an anti-LAG-3 antibody. Relatlimab is the third distinct checkpoint inhibitor (anti-PD-1, anti-CTLA-4 and anti-LAG-3) for Bristol Myers Squibb and, with Opdivo, the first fixed-dose combination to demonstrate a benefit for patients.

“Immune checkpoint inhibitors alone or in combination have transformed treatment and improved survival rates for patients with metastatic or unresectable melanoma. However, there remain a considerable number of patients who could benefit from a novel combination therapy that leverages potentially complementary pathways to improve anti-tumor activity,” said Jonathan Cheng, senior vice president and head of oncology development, Bristol Myers Squibb. “The results of this study suggest that targeting the LAG-3 pathway in combination with PD-1 inhibition may be a key strategy to enhance the immune response and help improve outcomes for these patients.”

Lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG-3) is a cell-surface molecule expressed on effector T cells and regulatory T cells (Tregs). LAG-3 regulates an inhibitory immune checkpoint pathway that limits the activity of T cells, leading to an impaired ability to attack tumor cells. In the chronic presence of diseases like cancer, T cells exhibit progressive exhaustion that is characterized by the upregulation of inhibitory immune checkpoints such as PD-1 and LAG-3. While LAG-3 and PD-1 are distinct immune checkpoint pathways, they may potentially act synergistically on effector T cells leading to T cell exhaustion. Relatlimab is a LAG-3–blocking antibody that binds to LAG-3 on T cells, restoring effector function of exhausted T cells. Relatlimab, in combination with Opdivo, is the first anti-LAG-3 antibody to demonstrate a benefit for patients.

Bristol Myers Squibb will present the results at an upcoming meeting and discuss these results with regulatory authorities.

Bristol Myers Squibb thanks the patients and investigators who were involved in the RELATIVITY-047 clinical trial. The company has several ongoing trials evaluating the use of relatlimab in combination with Opdivo and other therapies for the treatment of additional cancers.

About RELATIVITY-047 (CA224-047)

RELATIVITY-047 (CA224-047) is a randomized, double-blind Phase 2/3 study evaluating the fixed-dose combination of relatlimab and Opdivo in patients with previously untreated metastatic or unresectable melanoma versus Opdivo alone. The primary endpoint of the trial is progression-free survival (PFS) by Blinded Independent Central Review (BICR) and the secondary endpoints are overall survival (OS) and objective response rate (ORR). A total of 714 patients were randomized 1:1 to receive a fixed-dose combination of relatlimab 160 mg and Opdivo 480 mg or Opdivo 480 mg by intravenous infusion every four weeks until disease recurrence, unacceptable toxicity or withdrawal of consent. Follow up for the secondary endpoints of OS and ORR is ongoing.

About LAG-3

Lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG-3) is a cell-surface molecule expressed on effector T cells and regulatory T cells (Tregs) and functions to control T cell response, activation and growth. Preclinical studies indicate that inhibition of the LAG-3 pathway may restore effector function of exhausted T cells and potentially promote an anti-tumor response. Early research demonstrates that targeting the LAG-3 pathway in combination with other potentially complementary immune pathways may be a key strategy to more effectively potentiate anti-tumor immune activity.

Bristol Myers Squibb is evaluating relatlimab, its LAG-3-blocking antibody, in clinical trials in combination with other agents in a variety of tumor types.

About Melanoma

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) located in the skin. Metastatic melanoma is the deadliest form of the disease and occurs when cancer spreads beyond the surface of the skin to other organs. The incidence of melanoma has been increasing steadily for the last 30 years. In the United States, 106,110 new diagnoses of melanoma and about 7,180 related deaths are estimated for 2021. Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that by 2035, melanoma incidence will reach 424,102, with 94,308 related deaths. Melanoma is mostly curable when treated in its very early stages; however, survival rates decrease if regional lymph nodes are involved.

Bristol Myers Squibb: Creating a Better Future for People with Cancer

Bristol Myers Squibb is inspired by a single vision — transforming patients’ lives through science. The goal of the company’s cancer research is to deliver medicines that offer each patient a better, healthier life and to make cure a possibility. Building on a legacy across a broad range of cancers that have changed survival expectations for many, Bristol Myers Squibb researchers are exploring new frontiers in personalized medicine, and through innovative digital platforms, are turning data into insights that sharpen their focus. Deep scientific expertise, cutting-edge capabilities and discovery platforms enable the company to look at cancer from every angle. Cancer can have a relentless grasp on many parts of a patient’s life, and Bristol Myers Squibb is committed to taking actions to address all aspects of care, from diagnosis to survivorship. Because as a leader in cancer care, Bristol Myers Squibb is working to empower all people with cancer to have a better future.

About Opdivo ®

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-tumor 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 and includes a broad range of clinical trials across all phases, including Phase 3, in a variety of tumor types. To date, the Opdivo clinical development program has treated more than 35,000 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 65 countries, including the United States, the European Union, Japan and China. In October 2015, the Company’s Opdivo and Yervoy combination regimen was the first Immuno-Oncology 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.

About the Bristol Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical Collaboration

In 2011, through a collaboration agreement with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Bristol Myers Squibb expanded its territorial rights to develop and commercialize Opdivo globally, except in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, where Ono had retained all rights to the compound at the time. On July 23, 2014, Ono and Bristol Myers Squibb further expanded the companies’ strategic collaboration agreement to jointly develop and commercialize multiple immunotherapies – as single agents and combination regimens – for patients with cancer in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

About Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb is 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, visit us at or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are wholly owned subsidiaries of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. In certain countries outside the U.S., due to local laws, Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are referred to as, Celgene, a Bristol Myers Squibb company and Juno Therapeutics, a Bristol Myers Squibb company.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding, among other things, the research, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products. All statements that are not statements of historical facts are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on historical performance and current expectations and projections about our future financial results, goals, plans and objectives and involve inherent risks, assumptions and uncertainties, including internal or external factors that could delay, divert or change any of them in the next several years, that are difficult to predict, may be beyond our control and could cause our future financial results, goals, plans and objectives to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the statements. These risks, assumptions, uncertainties and other factors include, among others, that future study results will be consistent with the results to date, that relatlimab plus Opdivo may not receive regulatory approval for the indication described in this release in the currently anticipated timeline or at all and, if approved, whether such combination treatment for such indication described in this release will be commercially successful. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many risks and uncertainties that affect Bristol Myers Squibb’s business and market, particularly those identified in the cautionary statement and risk factors discussion in Bristol Myers Squibb’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, as updated by our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements included in this document are made only as of the date of this document and except as otherwise required by applicable law, Bristol Myers Squibb undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise.

Source: Bristol Myers Squibb

Related articles

Opdualag (nivolumab and relatlimab-rmbw) FDA Approval History

More news resources

Subscribe to our newsletter

Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of in your inbox.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.