The FDA has granted expanded use of Merck’s immunotherapy lung cancer drug Keytruda in combination with Eli Lilly’s chemotherapy drug Alimta, reports Reuters. 

Keytruda alone was already approved as an initial, or first-line, therapy for advanced NSCLC in patients whose cancer cells have a high level of the PD-L1 protein the drug targets. The combination allows for treatment regardless of level of PD-L1.

Merck scored a coup last year, when Keytruda extended patient survival in a first-line lung cancer trial, supplanting Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY.N) as the perceived leader in the field. Bristol’s rival drug Opdivo surprisingly failed to show a survival benefit compared with chemotherapy in a similar study.

Both drugs and one from Roche (ROG.S) were already approved for lung cancer once a prior treatment fails or stops working.