While early data presented at ASCO in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) could appear to give nivolumab from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) an efficacy advantage over MEDI4736 from AstraZeneca plc (LSE:AZN; NYSE:AZN) and pembrolizumab from Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK), two oncologists interpret the overall efficacy of the three mAbs to be similar given the small size of the nivolumab trial. However, MEDI4736, which targets programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1; B7-H1; CD274), and pembrolizumab, which binds to PD-1 receptor (PDCD1; PD-1; CD279), have milder safety profiles. Nivolumab also targets PD-1.

BMS has started a rolling BLA for nivolumab in third-line NSCLC and