drug approval boosts AstraZeneca's lung cancer hopes
Send a link to a friend
[March 27, 2017] By
LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca has won
approval for its lung cancer pill Tagrisso in China, a key market for
the potential blockbuster medicine.
Tagrisso is designed to help cancer patients with certain genetic
mutations that are very common in China and the regulatory green
light boosts the British drugmaker's prospects in a key therapy
Lung cancer is a vital component of AstraZeneca's ambitious sales
targets, set in 2014 in response to a takeover attempt by Pfizer,
with Tagrisso forecast to contribute $3 billion.
At the time, many analysts viewed the Tagrisso goal as unrealistic.
Yet consensus forecasts have now risen to $2.8 billion for 2022,
according to Thomson Reuters data, helped by its strong launch and
the failure of some rival products.
Tagrisso sales last year totaled $423 million.
China is potentially the biggest market for the drug because 30 to
40 percent of Asian patients with non-small cell lung cancer have
epidermal growth factor receptor mutated tumors that are receptive
to Tagrisso, a far higher rate than in the West.
AstraZeneca's head of drug development, Sean Bohen, said in a
statement on Monday announcing the drug's approval that China
represented a "significant opportunity".
Tagrisso is the first drug approved under the China Food and Drug
Administrationís priority review pathway, which offers a fast track
to market for an innovative medicines.
[to top of second column]
The once-daily pill is currently used as a second-line therapy,
after patients have tried older drugs like Roche's Tarceva and
AstraZeneca's own Iressa, although a clinical trial this year could
prove its benefit in first-line use.
Beyond Tagrisso, investors are heavily focused on prospects for
another clinical study testing a combination of two drugs in the hot
area of immunotherapy, where AstraZeneca is chasing rivals such as
Merck , Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Susan Thomas)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.