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Insight 2

Earlier this week, Bristol-Myers Squibb flagged an early success for its Phase III Opdivo (nivolumab) study for kidney cancer, saying that an independent monitoring group concluded that its closely watched checkpoint inhibitor has beat Afinitor (everolimus) in improving overall survival for advanced patients.

This is the first time that a checkpoint inhibitor has demonstrated success for renal cell carcinoma, says Bristol-Myers, which has already scored a quick initial approval for the drug as it hurries to expand its portfolio for more cancers as Merck ($MRK), Roche ($RHHBY) and AstraZeneca ($AZN) all concentrate on their rival therapies in this group. Checkpoint inhibitors are essentially designed to take the brakes off of the immune system in targeting cancer cells, and they have demonstrated some remarkable successes in human studies.

"Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art." Will Durant,