Exelixis shares jump after team up with Bristol-Myers on cancer trials

Steve Cole Images | Getty Images

Shares of Exelixis jumped 6 percent Monday after the bitotech company announced a clinical development collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

In a release, South San Francisco-based Exelixis said the program, which will be co-funded by the companies, will evaluate its cancer drug Cabometyx with Opdivo, Bristol's PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, "either alone or in combination with Yervoy."

The company said it is expected to include a phase 3 pivotal trial in first-line renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer, with additional trials planned in bladder cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer, and potentially other tumor types.

Cabometyx and Opdivo have both received approval in the U.S. and European Union for specific uses in previous treated renal cell carcinoma. Both compounds are the subject of ongoing, global phase 3 pivotal trials in hepatocellular carcinoma.

"The safety and efficacy data from the phase 1 clinical trial evaluating [Cabometyx] in combination with Opdivo are consistent with the preclinical scientific rationale for combining these two therapeutic modalities," Exelixis President and CEO Michael Morrissey said in a statement.

Fouad Namouni, head of development in oncology at Bristol-Myers Squibb, said, "We look forward to working with Exelixis, bringing together our knowledge and experience in oncology, to evaluate the potential clinical value of combining these therapies to treat multiple tumors."

The SPDR S&P biotech ETF (XBI) and the ishares Nasdaq biotechnology ETF (IBB) were near session highs after the news.

With Monday's gains, Exelixis is up more than 50 percent year to date.

Exelixis 5-day chart