Japan's Ono Pharmaceutical gears up sales reps for Opdivo

Osaka-based Ono Pharmaceutical is gearing up its sales force to boost sales of Opdivo (nivolumab) as sales look set to pick up quickly from ¥2.5 billion ($21 million) at the end of March 2015 to past ¥100 billion annually in the coming years, Nikkei Asian Review reports. The drug is also sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), which acquired the originator company, Medarex. Ono secured Japan rights under a 2005 pact with Medarex; it has been approved there for unresectable melanoma since 2014. Nikkei said that the two companies now have a total of 300 sales reps aimed at around 1,000 key hospitals in Japan. Earlier this month, Ono said it would develop a new diagnostic tool to determine whether more patients will benefit from Opdivo. In April of last year, Ono filed for in-country approval of Opdivo to treat NSCLC and received manufacturing and marketing approval in December 2015. Report