AstraZeneca PLC. (AZN - Free Report) announced that a phase III PACIFIC study evaluating its oncology candidate, Imfinzi (durvalumab), for an early stage lung cancer indication met its second primary endpoint of overall survival (OS). The study was conducted on patients with locally-advanced, unresectable (stage III) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), whose disease has not progressed following platinum-based chemotherapy concurrent with radiation therapy (CRT). Please note that Imfinzi was approved in the United States for this indication in February this year based on positive progression free survival data
A planned interim analysis showed that patients receiving Imfinzi experienced statistically significant OS benefit with clinically meaningful improvement compared to placebo. The OS data will be added to the label of Imfinzi which can drive sales of the drug higher.
Imfinzi is also marketed in the United States for second-line advanced bladder cancer.
Interim data from the study, presented in September last year, showed that Imfinzi led to superior progression-free survival to standard of care in the above-mentioned patients. Treatment with Imfinzi improved PFS by more than 11 months in comparison to standard of care. Imfinzi also led to significant reductions in the risk of deterioration of health or death per data from the study.
Astrazeneca’s shares have outperformed the industry so far this year. Shares of the company have gained 6.7%, while the industry declined 4.9%.
AstraZeneca is also developing Imfinzi as monotherapy as well as combination therapy for treatment of NSCLC in first-line or adjuvant setting. The drug is also being developed for several other cancer indications including head and neck, gastric, pancreatic, hepatocellular and blood cancers.
However, lung cancer is a competitive segment as it attracts several players due to the huge market opportunity. Novartis (NVS - Free Report) and Roche (RHHBY - Free Report) received approval for their respective drugs, Zykadia and Alecensa, in 2017 for treating metastatic NSCLC in first-line setting.
Other immunotherapies for treating various cancer indications include Bristol-Myers Squibb Company’s (BMY - Free Report) Opdivo and Merck & Co.’s Keytruda.
AstraZeneca carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).
You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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