Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said Monday that a new study of its highly anticipated melanoma drug improved survival time in patients with advanced skin cancer.
The company said the trial compared patients taking regular chemotherapy with those taking Bristol's ipilimumab plus chemotherapy. All of the patients had advanced melanoma and had not been previously treated with other drugs.
Last year ipilimumab became the first drug to improve survival in melanoma patients, as shown in a study of patients who had already failed two other drugs. On average, patients taking the drug lived four months longer.
Doctors speculated that the drug could provide more benefit if given earlier in the course of the disease and to patients who were less sick.
New York-based Bristol said it would present the results at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in June.
FDA is currently reviewing the drug and is scheduled to issue a decision later this week.
Shares of the company rose to $27.15 after the market closed, when the report was released, from a closing price of $26.