New wonder drug for prostate cancer sends AstraZeneca shares soaring – ‘significant’

AstraZeneca unveils new research centre in Cambridge

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The Anglo-Swiss pharmaceutical giant announced that its drug used in combination with a common hormone therapy showed impressive results in stage three trials. Lynparza (also called olaparib) was paired with abiraterone and was shown to slash the risk of disease progression by 34 percent compared to the normal standard of care. Since making this announcement, AstraZeneca’s shares soared by five percent to £88.46 right after London market close.

This comes after Astrazeneca hiked its dividend for the first time in 10 years this week after racking up record sales from Covid vaccines.

The company’s revenue soared 41 percent to £27.5billion last year, ramped up by almost £3billion in sales from its COVID-19 jab made with scientists from Oxford University.

According to analysts at Jefferies, the clinical trial success for prostate cancer has the potential to generate significant amounts of profit.

They claimed that of the 30,000 to 50,000 patients suffering from the cancer in the US, there is a “significant commercial opportunity” of between £2.2billion to £3.7billion in sales.

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

The drugs were reportedly well-tolerated.

This means that patients could keep their quality of life, which is often impacted when trailing novel cancer treatments.

The phase III study was carried out by a team from the University of Montreal Hospital Center.

It is set to be presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary Cancers Symposium on Thursday, February 17.

Fred Saad, lead investigator of the trial, said: “It is clear to me that the prognosis for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) is extremely poor, and many patients are only able to receive one line of effective therapy.

“The results of the PROpel trial, which showed that olaparib in combination with abiraterone significantly delayed disease progression versus abiraterone by more than eight months, demonstrate the potential for this combination to become a new standard of care option in mCRPC if approved.”

Roy Baynes, is chief medical officer at MSD Research Laboratories, which developed the drug in collaboration with AstraZeneca.

He said: “We look forward to discussing these important results with global health authorities as quickly as possible.”

AstraZeneca has reported that prostate cancer was responsible for 375,000 deaths in 2020.

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In the UK, one in eight people are diagnosed with the disease during their lifetime.

Prostate Cancer UK says the disease kills over 11,500 lives every year.

It is the most common cancer in men in the UK, and the second most-common cancer in the world.

But Cancer Research says that over 8 in 10 patients now survive the disease for 10 years or longer.

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