First of a new breed of anticancer antibodies approved in Japan


The first in a new class of immune-oncology drugs has been approved for use in Japan. Ono pharmaceuticals’ Opdivo (nivolumab) has been approved for treating melanomas where surgery is impossible.

Nivolumab is part of a new wave of cancer therapies that encourage our immune systems to fight cancers or enhance their performance. It targets programmed cell death (PD1) receptors that are expressed on tumour cell surfaces to ward off detection by the immune system.

Ono developed the monoclonal antibody in conjunction with US biotech Medarex, which was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squib (BMS) in 2009. BMS is developing the drug outside of Japan, Korea and Taiwan.


Related Content

First biosimilar antibody drugs approved in Europe

11 September 2013 Business

news image

European commission gives final approval to generic infliximab copies

Pills, prices and politics

17 December 2015 Business

news image

2015 saw the pharmaceutical industry clash with lawmakers

Most Commented

Chemistry behind the ‘blue man’ unlocked

1 November 2012 Research

news image

Biochemical model suggests that silver ions, not nanoparticles, cause a rare skin complaint

Shadow of Chernobyl

26 April 2016 Critical Point

news image

Mark Peplow takes the long view on the cost of nuclear power