New cancer drugs from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck wowed a major oncology meeting over the weekend and drove both companies' stocks significantly higher Monday as analysts said billions stood to be made from the treatment breakthroughs the developmental drugs promise.
"Some of the most exciting cancer data that I've ever seen," Tony Butler, a pharmaceutical analyst at Barclays Capital, told CNBC.com as he left the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago. "It certainly is the biggest change in oncology that we've seen."
Butler had to cram into a seat in the back row of Sunday's symposium, where an overflow crowd heard details of Bristol-Myers' and Merck's new anti-PD-1 drugs, which in early-stage clinical trials are showing a dramatic increase in survival rates for surveyed melanoma patients.
"Let me just be clear: If you go into a big auditorium, and you can't actually get into the room, what does that tell you?" Butler said. "It's something that is different."