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An immunotherapy from the drug firms Regeneron and Sanofi extended survival in previously untreated patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the companies said Monday.

Only one other such medicine, Merck’s Keytruda, has had a similar benefit in a similar population, said George D. Yancopoulos, Regeneron’s co-founder and chief scientific officer. He hopes, he said, that the Regeneron-Sanofi drug, called Libtayo, can provide an “alternative” to Keytruda in first-line non-small cell lung cancer.


In a press release, the companies said that in patients whose tumors had greater than 50% levels of PD-L1 — a diagnostic test used for all similar drugs — those taking Libtayo had a 32.4% decreased risk of death compared to those who received chemotherapy over the length of the study.

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