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AstraZeneca’s drug scores positive results against chemo in breast cancer

Published on 17/02/17 at 10:11am

AstraZeneca announced that its drug, Lynpara (olaparib), had positive results for a recent Phase 3 trial when tested against standard treatment of chemotherapy in patients suffering from HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer harbouring germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. The data from the trial showed that the drug improved progression-free survival compared to those who received only standard chemotherapy.

The full data has not yet been released to ascertain just how ‘significant’ and ‘meaningful’ the data is but it could potentially see the drug expand its indication beyond ovarian cancer. The treatment is administered in the form of a pill, with 300mg of the drug being taken twice daily by patients.

Sean Bohen, Executive Vice President, Global Medicines Development and Chief Medical Officer at AstraZeneca, said: “These results are positive news for patients with BRCA-mutated metastatic breast cancer, a disease with a high unmet need, and are the first positive Phase III data for a PARP inhibitor beyond ovarian cancer. This is highly encouraging for the development of our broad portfolio which aims to treat multiple cancers by targeting DNA damage response pathways.”

The positive news will come as relief for AstraZeneca, which has experienced a tough period with its head of Europe operations and head of oncology both leaving in the space of two months. The major potential release of news for AstraZeneca will be the results from the combination of immunotherapy drugs durvalumab and tremelimumab in previously untreated lung cancer patients. The immunotherapy area is fiercely competitive but if AstraZeneca can post successful results from the MYSTIC study, it would represent a massive boost to the company.

In the short term, however, the potential for Lynpara to expand its label, pending the release of data and market applications, is exactly the kind of news that AstraZeneca requires.

Ben Hargreaves

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