AstraZeneca slips after Imfinzi falls short in cancer trial
By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com -- AstraZeneca (LON: AZN ) stock slipped in morning trading in London on Monday, after the U.K.-Swedish pharma company said its Imfinzi drug had failed to reach primary endpoints in the latest of a series of trials scoping out its effectiveness.
By 05:55 ET (10:55 GMT), AstraZeneca stock was down 0.2%, underperforming a FTSE 100 that was 0.6% higher.
The PEARL Phase III trial was designed to test whether Imfinzi could improve overall survival rates for patients when used on its own against stage IV (metastatic) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumor cells expressed high levels (25% or more) of PD-L1, a protein used by cancer cells to evade the body's immune system. The drug did, however, effect a meaningful improvement in a subset of patients with PD-L1 tumor expression greater than 50%, a secondary endpoint.
The trial was conducted primarily in Asia.
Imfinzi is one of AstraZeneca's most successful recent drugs, having already been approved for use in treating various types of cancer. As such, the disappointment of the PEARL III test represents a relatively modest setback for its commercialization.
AstraZeneca said the safety and tolerability profile for Imfinzi was broadly consistent with the known profile of the medicine, and no new safety signals were identified.
"We are encouraged to see patients in the metastatic setting at a higher level of PD-L1 tumour expression demonstrate the most benefit with Imfinzi monotherapy treatment, as is commonly seen in this class," oncology executive vice-president Susan Galbraith said. "We remain steadfast in our dedication to developing new and improved medicines and regimens for patients with lung cancer across our diverse portfolio."
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