AstraZeneca shares rise on positive results from cancer drug trial

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AstraZeneca shares rise as trial shows drug could help prolong life of terminally ill prostate cancer patients

  • Trial shows treatment delays disease progression by more than eight months 
  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK 
  • Astrazeneca shares were up 4% to £87.19 just before midday 


Shares in Astrazeneca have risen by 4 per cent this morning after the drug giant flagged positive results from a late-stage trial for a treatment for prostate cancer.

The FTSE 100 group said its Lynparza drug in combination with a common hormone therapy delayed disease progression by more than eight months compared to the current standard of care.

‘This Lynparza combination has the potential to afford first-line patients more time without disease progression while also maintaining their quality of life,’ said Susan Galbraith, executive vice president of Oncology R&D at AstraZeneca.

Hope: The new treatment could delay prostate cancer progression by more than 8 months

Hope: The new treatment could delay prostate cancer progression by more than 8 months

Astrazeneca shares were up 4 per cent to £87.19 just before midday.

The jump in the heavyweight stock has helped push the FTSE 100 0.7 per cent higher to 7,583.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK and the second most-common around the globe.

Around one in eight in the UK are diagnosed with it during their lifetime, with the disease claiming over 11,500 lives a year, according to charity Prostate Cancer UK.

Globally, it caused around 375,000 deaths in 2020, according to Astrazeneca, with survival rates for those who are diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer still low. 

Lynparza is already approved in multiple countries, including the US and Japan, to treat breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers. 

The clinical trial success for prostate cancer could be highly lucrative, according to analysts at Jefferies.

They previously said that the 30,000 to 50,000 patients suffering from the cancer in the US alone presented a ‘significant commercial opportunity’ of £2.2billion to £3.7billion in sales. 

Astrazeneca said its latest phase-3 trial has shown that Lynparza with hormonal treatment reduced the risk of disease progression or death by a third, compared to the standard treatment of just hormones.

Results have also showed a ‘favourable trend’ towards improved overall survival.

Roy Baynes, chief medical officer at MSD Research Laboratories, which has developed the drug with Astrazeneca, said: ‘We look forward to discussing these important results with global health authorities as quickly as possible.’

It comes as Astrazeneca hiked its dividend for the first time in a decade this week after raking in record sales.

Revenues at the pharma giant rose 41 per cent to £27.5billion last year, boosted by nearly £3billion in sales from its Covid-19 vaccine. 

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