ECONOMY

Astra Reports Positive Lynparza Results for Prostate Cancer

AstraZeneca Plc reported positive high-level results for use of its blockbuster drug Lynparza to treat prostate cancer, continuing a strong run for the pharmaceutical company in its oncology portfolio.

An advanced-stage trial found that combining Lynparza with the hormonal agent abiraterone improved progression-free survival for men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who’d received no previous treatment, Astra said in a statement Friday. The data also indicated overall survival may be improved, but more analysis is needed.

With about 30,000 to 50,000 prostate cancer patients in the U.S. eligible for the first-line therapy every year, the results could add sales of between $3 billion and $5 billion, according to Jeffries analysts, assuming a treatment period of 18 months. However, this is theoretical and more data are needed to determine penetration, duration of use, and patient subgroups with most benefit, the analysts said.

Astra shares rose as much as 3.6% in early London trading.

“Today, men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer have limited options in the 1st-line setting, and sadly often the disease progresses after initial treatment with current standards of care,” Susan Galbraith, Astra’s head of oncology research and development, said in the statement. The drug combination could “reach a broad population of patients living with this aggressive disease.”

The results continue a strong run for Astra in its oncology portfolio after the company increased its assets in recent years. Astra’s breast cancer drug Enhertu demonstrated earlier this month that it has a significant edge over Roche Holding AG’s Kadcyla in keeping patients alive without their tumors worsening.

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