U.S. FDA approves Bristol-Myers' Opdivo for bladder cancer

A trader passes by a screen displaying the tickers symbols for Bristol-Myers Squibb and Intelsat, Ltd. on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, April 25, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday expanded the use of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co’s Opdivo to include treatment of urothelial carcinoma, the most common type of bladder cancer.

Opdivo, part of a new class of medicines designed to use the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, is already approved to treat advanced melanoma, a form of lung cancer, kidney cancer, and Hodgkin lymphoma.

Investors were disappointed last month when Bristol-Myers said it would not seek accelerated FDA approval for a combination of Opdivo and another immunotherapy, Yervoy, as an initial treatment for lung cancer.

The FDA is slated to decide in May whether to approve rival Merck & Co Inc’s combination of immunotherapy Keytruda and chemotherapy for first-line lung cancer.

Reporting By Deena Beasley; editing by Diane Craft