The Phase 3 ACTIV-1 Immune Modulators study was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health as part of the ACTIV initiative

Orencia was one of two immune modulators that improved survival for people hospitalized with COVID-19

Safety profile of Orencia remained consistent, with no new safety signals reported

PRINCETON, NJ, USA I June 02, 2022 IBristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) today announced topline results from the Phase 3 Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV-1) Immune Modulators clinical trial, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study evaluated the safety and efficacy of a single dose of immune modulators, including Orencia (abatacept) IV (10 mg/kg) versus placebo when given with standard of care to determine if modulating the immune system’s response could speed recovery and reduce death in adults hospitalized with moderate to severe COVID-19.

Treatment with Orencia versus placebo displayed a strong but not statistically significant improvement in the primary endpoint of time to recovery as measured by day of hospital discharge. Analyses of the secondary endpoints, which included mortality and clinical status, demonstrated Orencia reduced participants’ risk of death and improved their clinical status at 28 days after entering the study when compared with placebo. The risk of death was lower for participants who received Orencia at 11%, versus 15% for those who received placebo, and the odds of dying were 37.4% lower. The relative improvement in mortality was similar in both moderately and severely ill participants. People in the Orencia group had 34.2% better odds of clinical improvement than those in the placebo group. The safety profile of Orencia remained consistent, with no new safety signals reported in the study.

“With the continued need across the globe for treatment options to address the threat of COVID-19, we are proud of our involvement in the ACTIV-1 Immune Modulators clinical trial and our scientific research related to the virus. The devastating resurgences associated with circulating and emerging COVID variants underscore the need for additional therapeutic options for those who are hospitalized with COVID-19,” said Samit Hirawat, MD, chief medical officer, Bristol Myers Squibb. “We are pleased with the data demonstrating the risk of death was lower for participants who received Orencia and look forward to continued collaboration with the NIH to assess the data and potentially bring this treatment option to those in need.”

The full report on these data will be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Given the positive findings from the topline data, Bristol Myers Squibb plans to discuss these data and potential next steps with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


ORENCIA® is a selective costimulation modulator that disrupts the continuous cycle of T-cell activation.

U.S. Indications/Usage and Important Safety Information for ORENCIA® (abatacept)

Indications and Usage

Adult Rheumatoid Arthritis: ORENCIA® (abatacept) is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: ORENCIA is indicated for the treatment of patients 2 years of age and older with moderately to severely active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA).

Adult Psoriatic Arthritis: ORENCIA is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

Prophylaxis for Acute Graft versus Host Disease: ORENCIA is indicated for the prophylaxis of acute graft versus host disease (aGVHD), in combination with a calcineurin inhibitor and methotrexate, in adults and pediatric patients 2 years of age or older undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) from a matched or 1 allele-mismatched unrelated-donor.

Limitations of Use: The concomitant use of ORENCIA with other potent immunosuppressants [e.g., biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDS), Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors] is not recommended.

Important Safety Information for ORENCIA® (abatacept)

Increased Risk of Infection with Concomitant Use with TNF Antagonists, Other Biologic RA/PsA Therapy, or JAK Inhibitors: Concurrent therapy with ORENCIA and a TNF antagonist is not recommended. In controlled clinical trials, adult RA patients receiving concomitant intravenous ORENCIA and TNF antagonist therapy experienced more infections (63% vs 43%) and serious infections (4.4% vs 0.8%) compared to patients treated with only TNF antagonists, without an important enhancement of efficacy. Additionally, concomitant use of ORENCIA with other biologic RA/PsA therapy or JAK inhibitors is not recommended.

Hypersensitivity: There were 2 cases (<0.1%; n=2688) of anaphylaxis reactions in clinical trials with adult RA patients treated with intravenous ORENCIA. Other reactions potentially associated with drug hypersensitivity, such as hypotension, urticaria, and dyspnea, each occurred in <0.9% of patients. There was one case of a hypersensitivity reaction with ORENCIA in pJIA clinical trials (0.5%; n=190). In postmarketing experience, fatal anaphylaxis following the first infusion of ORENCIA and life-threatening cases of angioedema have been reported. Angioedema has occurred as early as after the first dose of ORENCIA, but also has occurred with subsequent doses. Angioedema reactions have occurred within hours of administration and in some instances had a delayed onset (i.e., days). Appropriate medical support measures for treating hypersensitivity reactions should be available for immediate use. If an anaphylactic or other serious allergic reaction occurs, administration of intravenous or subcutaneous ORENCIA should be stopped immediately and permanently discontinued, with appropriate therapy instituted.

Infections: Serious infections, including sepsis and pneumonia, were reported in 3% and 1.9% of RA patients treated with intravenous ORENCIA and placebo, respectively. Some of these infections have been fatal. Many of the serious infections have occurred in patients on concomitant immunosuppressive therapy which, in addition to their underlying disease, could further predispose them to infection. Caution should be exercised in patients with a history of infection or underlying conditions which may predispose them to infections. Treatment with ORENCIA should be discontinued if a patient develops a serious infection. Patients should be screened for tuberculosis and viral hepatitis in accordance with published guidelines, and if positive, treated according to standard medical practice prior to therapy with ORENCIA.

Immunizations: Prior to initiating ORENCIA in pediatric and adult patients, update vaccinations in accordance with current vaccination guidelines. Live vaccines should not be given concurrently with ORENCIA or within 3 months after discontinuation. ORENCIA may blunt the effectiveness of some immunizations. In addition, it is unknown if the immune response of an infant who was exposed in utero to abatacept and subsequently administered a live vaccine is impacted. Risks and benefits should be considered prior to vaccinating such infants.

Increased Risk of Adverse Reactions When Used in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): In Study V, adult COPD patients treated with ORENCIA for RA developed adverse events more frequently than those treated with placebo, including COPD exacerbations, cough, rhonchi, and dyspnea. In the study, 97% of COPD patients treated with ORENCIA developed adverse events versus 88% treated with placebo. Respiratory disorders occurred more frequently in patients treated with ORENCIA compared to those on placebo (43% vs 24%, respectively), including COPD exacerbation, cough, rhonchi, and dyspnea. A greater percentage of patients treated with ORENCIA developed a serious adverse event compared to those on placebo (27% vs 6%), including COPD exacerbation [3 of 37 patients (8%)] and pneumonia [1 of 37 patients (3%)]. Use of ORENCIA in patients with COPD should be undertaken with caution, and such patients monitored for worsening of their respiratory status.

Immunosuppression: In clinical trials in adult RA patients, a higher rate of infections was seen in ORENCIA-treated patients compared to placebo-treated patients. The impact of treatment with ORENCIA on the development and course of malignancies is not fully understood. There have been reports of malignancies, including skin cancer in patients receiving ORENCIA. Periodic skin examinations are recommended for all ORENCIA-treated patients, particularly those with risk factors for skin cancer.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Reactivation in aGVHD Prophylaxis after Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT): Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder (PTLD) occurred in patients who received ORENCIA for aGVHD prophylaxis during unrelated HSCT. Of 116 patients who received ORENCIA, 4 patients (3.4%) experienced PTLD. All the PTLD events were associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. The range of time to onset of the event was 49 to 89 days post-transplant. Monitor patients for EBV reactivation in accordance with institutional practices. Before administering Orencia, provide recommended prophylaxis for EBV infection and continue for 6 months post-transplantation to prevent EBV-associated PTLD. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) invasive disease occurred in patients who received ORENCIA for aGVHD prophylaxis during unrelated HSCT. Of 116 patients who received ORENCIA, 7% (n=8) experienced CMV invasive diseases up to day 225 post-transplant. The median time to onset of the event was 91 days post-transplant. CMV invasive diseases predominantly involved the gastrointestinal tract. Monitor patients for CMV infection/reactivation for 6 months post-transplant regardless of the results of donor and recipient pre-transplant CMV serology. Consider prophylaxis for CMV infection/reactivation during treatment and for six months following HSCT.

Blood Glucose Testing: ORENCIA for intravenous administration contains maltose, which may result in falsely elevated blood glucose readings on the day of infusion when using blood glucose monitors with test strips utilizing glucose dehydrogenase pyrroloquinoline quinone (GDH-PQQ). Consider using monitors and advising patients to use monitors that do not react with maltose, such as those based on glucose dehydrogenase nicotine adenine dinucleotide (GDH-NAD), glucose oxidase or glucose hexokinase test methods. ORENCIA for subcutaneous (SC) administration does not contain maltose; therefore, patients do not need to alter their glucose monitoring.

Pregnancy: There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of ORENCIA use in pregnant women and the data with ORENCIA use in pregnant women are insufficient to inform on drug-associated risk. A pregnancy registry has been established to monitor pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to ORENCIA during pregnancy. Healthcare professionals are encouraged to register patients by calling 1-877-311-8972.

Lactation: There is no information regarding the presence of abatacept in human milk, the effects on the breastfed infant, or the effects on milk production. However, abatacept was present in the milk of lactating rats dosed with abatacept.

Most Serious Adverse Reactions: In controlled clinical trials, adult RA patients experienced serious infections (3% ORENCIA vs 1.9% placebo) and malignancies (1.3% ORENCIA vs 1.1% placebo). In the GVHD-1 study, serious adverse reactions reported in >5% of patients who received ORENCIA in combination with a calcineurin inhibitor and methotrexate and >2% higher than placebo included pyrexia (20%), pneumonia (8%), acute kidney injury (7%), diarrhea (6%), hypoxia (5%), and nausea (5%).

Malignancies: The overall frequency of malignancies was similar between adult RA patients treated with ORENCIA or placebo. However, more cases of lung cancer were observed in patients treated with ORENCIA (0.2%) than those on placebo (0%). A higher rate of lymphoma was seen compared to the general population; however, patients with RA, particularly those with highly active disease, are at a higher risk for the development of lymphoma. The potential role of ORENCIA in the development of malignancies in humans is unknown.

Most Frequent Adverse Events (≥10%): Headache, upper respiratory tract infection, nasopharyngitis, and nausea were the most commonly reported adverse events in the adult RA clinical studies. Other events reported in ≥5% of pJIA patients were diarrhea, cough, pyrexia, and abdominal pain. In general, the adverse events in pediatric pJIA and adult PsA patients were similar in frequency and type to those seen in adult RA patients. The most frequent adverse reactions of all grades reported in ≥10% of patients with aGVHD who received ORENCIA with a difference of ≥2% for the 7/8 cohort, 8/8 cohort Orencia arm, and 8/8 cohort placebo arm, respectively, were anemia (56%, 69%, and 57%), CD4 lymphocytes decreased (14%, 14%, and 9%), hypertension (49%, 43%, and 38%), pyrexia (28%, 19%, and 20%), CMV reactivation/CMV infection (26%, 32%, and 22%), pneumonia (19%, 12%, and 10%), epistaxis (12%, 16%, and 10%), acute kidney injury (9%, 15%, and 10%), and hypermagnesemia (5%, 18%, 10%).

Incidence rates of grade 3 or 4 adverse reactions were the same as incidence rates of all grades, with the exception of grade 3 or 4 pyrexia in all arms (9% [7/8 cohort], 10% [8/8 cohort, Orencia arm], and 4% [8/8 cohort, placebo arm]), pneumonia in the 8/8 cohort placebo arm (9%) and acute kidney injury in the 7/8 cohort Orencia arm (7%). Clinically relevant adverse reactions in <10% of patients who received ORENCIA in combination with calcineurin inhibitor and methotrexate in Study GVHD-1 included EBV reactivation.

Note concerning ORENCIA administration options: ORENCIA may be administered as an intravenous infusion only for patients 6 years of age and older. PJIA patients may self-inject with ORENCIA or the patient’s caregiver may administer ORENCIA if both the healthcare practitioner and the parent/legal guardian determines it is appropriate. The ability of pediatric patients to self-inject with the autoinjector has not been tested. ORENCIA may only be administered as an intravenous (IV) infusion for the prophylaxis of aGVHD in patients undergoing HSCT. The safety and effectiveness of ORENCIA have not been established in pediatric patients younger than 2 years of age for prophylaxis of aGVHD.

Please click here for Full Prescribing Information.

Bristol Myers Squibb: Pioneering Paths Forward in Immunology to Transform Patients’ Lives

Bristol Myers Squibb is inspired by a single vision – transforming patients’ lives through science. For people living with immune-mediated diseases, the debilitating reality of enduring chronic symptoms and disease progression can take a toll on their physical, emotional and social well-being, making simple tasks and daily life a challenge. Driven by our deep understanding of the immune system that spans over 20 years of experience, and our passion to help patients, the company continues to pursue pathbreaking science with the goal of delivering meaningful solutions that address unmet needs in rheumatology, gastroenterology, dermatology and neurology. We follow the science, aiming to tailor therapies to individual needs, improve outcomes and expand treatment options by working to identify mechanisms with the potential to achieve long-term remission – and perhaps even cures – in the future. By building partnerships with researchers, patients and caregivers to deliver innovative treatments, Bristol Myers Squibb strives to elevate patient care to new standards and deliver what matters most – the promise of living a better life.

About Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb, visit us at or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are wholly owned subsidiaries of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. In certain countries outside the U.S., due to local laws, Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are referred to as, Celgene, a Bristol Myers Squibb company and Juno Therapeutics, a Bristol Myers Squibb company.

SOURCE: Bristol Myers Squibb