Lung Cancer Drug Flop Hammers AstraZeneca Shares

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In a further disappointment, Imfinizi monotherapy also would not have beaten out standard-of-care treatment, AstraZeneca said - although that secondary objective was not formally tested.

The medications were pitted against platinum-based standard-of-care, but after much speculation the British-based drugmaker said it had failed to improve PFS when compared to chemo in patients whose tumors express PD-L1 on 25% or more of their cancer cells.

The results as well as the outcome of the MYSTIC trial follow recent media reports that Soriot might be headed for generics drugmaker Teva.

One of AstraZeneca's big hopes, a combo of its new I-O med with another experimental cancer drug, has missed a key primary endpoint in first-line lung cancer patients.

The AstraZeneca plc (LON:AZN) (AZN.L) share price has slumped over 15% today after the release of its H1 results. He didn't offer the firmest of denials, but said he was "committed" to AstraZeneca and was not a "quitter". "I'm proud to be the CEO of this company and I look forward to continuing on our journey ahead and continuing to lead the incredible team. the only thing I can tell you is I am here today". The company has been seeking to develop new treatments to fight off competition from generic drugmakers. Sales came in at $4.9m, down 10 per cent on the same period past year, and earnings per share were 87 cents per share, slightly ahead of the 80 cents expected.

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AstraZeneca - a relative latecomer in immunotherapy - has been pinning its hopes on a combination approach for advanced lung cancer, after already showing that durvalumab alone can help in earlier-stage disease. Its failure to meet "endpoints" for progression-free survival is seen as a major setback. Soriot said this put it on track for eventual sales of more than $4 billion a year.

AstraZeneca said Lynparza's pipeline has grown significantly in the last few years, with 14 indications now being developed across several tumour types, including breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers. As part of the agreement, Merck will pay AstraZeneca up to $8.5 billion in total consideration, including $1.6 billion upfront, $750 million for certain license options and up to $6.15 billion contingent on successful achievement of future regulatory and sales milestones.

"In our view, the group should make every effort to capitalise on their strategic tie-up with Merck announced today and strong progress in the trials for Tagrisso".

The latest news came as AstraZeneca reported another fall in quarterly drug sales, hit by loss of patents on blockbusters like cholesterol pill Crestor. Revenue dropped 10% to $5.05 billion.

AstraZeneca reiterated its outlook for the full year that revenue would decline at a low to mid single-digit percentage rate, with core EPS dropping by a low to mid-teens percentage.

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