Astrazeneca hits triple oncology breakthrough

Chanice Henry

Astrazeneca and its biologics arm, Medimmune, advance in the R&D race as three new oncology drug candidates see promising developments

Astrazeneca’s mission to launch six new oncology medicines by 2020 creeps closer as candidates Tagrisso, Imfinzi (durvalumab) and Lynparza see encouraging clinical trial results.


In patients with EGFR t790m-mutation positive lung cancer and central nervous system metastases: 

  • 80mg tablets once-daily demonstrated significantly longer median time without disease worsening or death (progression-free survival, PFS) than standard platinum-based doublet chemotherapy.

Imfinzi (durvalumab): as a monotherapy and in combination in patients with advanced solid tumours

  • The US FDA granted accelerated approval to Imfinzi for patients with locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer.

  •  A Phase III DANUBE trial is ongoing at the moment with Imfinzi as 1st-line treatment in urothelial carcinoma as monotherapy and in combination with tremelimumab

Lynparza: In patients with BRCA-mutated metastatic breast cancer

  •   Patients treated with Lynparza had a 42% reduction in risk of their disease worsening or death (HR 0.58; 95% CI 0.43-0.80; p=0.0009; median 7.0 vs 4.2 months) compared to those who received a standard of care chemotherapy (capecitabine, vinorelbine, eribulin).

  • There was a lower incidence of grade ≥3 adverse events in the Lynparza arm compared to the chemotherapy arm (36.6% vs 50.5% respectively)

Jamie Freedman, Executive Vice President, Oncology at AstraZeneca, said: “2017 is a pivotal year for our oncology portfolio as global launch and development programmes for Lynparza, Tagrisso and Imfinzi gain momentum, with further pivotal data anticipated in the coming months, in particular in 1st-line non-small cell lung cancer


In its Cancer Immunotherapy Market Research Report, RnR Market Research said:  “Either alone or in combination therapies, immunotherapies may produce long-term remissions or even cures for cancers that have been uniformly fatal until very recently. Thus immuno-oncology is an important and rapidly emerging field, which deserves the attention it has been receiving in recent years.”  This buzz of attention has propelled the immune-oncology R&D race, which boasts an optimistic pipeline with all eyes set on obtaining blockbuster status.

Regina Au  of BioMarketing Insight labelled the advanced technology scientists have developed in this field as ‘extraordinary’. She added: “We may one day have a "cure" rather than a "remission" in cancer therapy. This would've been considered fiction 25 years ago. With the rising cost of healthcare, IO therapy will certainly curb healthcare costs and people will live longer.”

The worldwide market for cancer immunotherapies is anticipated to grow from $1.1B in 2012 to $9B in 2022, a 23.8% annual growth rate.

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