US FDA approved AstraZeneca’s key immunotherapy drug durvalumab as a treatment for bladder cancer, and the company hopes will be a “cornerstone” and will go on to sell billions of dollars.
AstraZeneca hopes that this new drugs will help to restore its fortunes after having lost patent on older blockbuster products like cholesterol pill Crestor and Nexium for heartburn.
The announcement is the first approval for Durvalumab, commercial name Imfinzi, which is also being developed for use on other tumour types including lung cancer and head and neck cancer. And here is where the big commercial opportunity lies. Results of a key trial test on lung cancer treatment are expected around the middle of the year.
Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca chief executive, said: “Imfinzi is the cornerstone of our extensive Immuno-Oncology programme, in development across many tumour types, as monotherapy and in combination. This first approval for Imfinzi is an important milestone in our return to growth and brings us another step closer to our goal of redefining the way cancer is treated.”
The medicine is the latest immunotherapy to be approved by the FDA, after nods for treatments developed against various cancers by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck & Co, Roche, and a collaboration between Germany’s Merck KGaA and Pfizer.
Source: The Financial Times