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Bristol-Myers’ tight-lipped pass on accelerated lung cancer drug approval leaves field wide open for Merck

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s disappointing and tight-lipped announcement that it would not try for accelerated approval for a first-line lung cancer drug sent shares plummeting nearly 10% in morning trade.

All Bristol-Myers BMY, -9.43% offered in the way of explanation was that it had used the data that was available to make the decision. The company wouldn’t say more “to protect the integrity of ongoing registrational studies,” it said, with four clinical trials currently under way.

The news buoyed rival Merck & Co. MRK, +3.90% shares by 3.9%, with the drugmaker obtaining approval in the same disease area last fall.

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