AstraZeneca’s top-selling cancer drug sees early unblinding in key trial

FILE PHOTO: The company logo for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) – AstraZeneca Plc said the third phase trial of its top-selling cancer drug Tagrisso, aimed at showing the drug’s benefit in lung cancer treatment, will be unblinded early after a recommendation from an independent data monitoring committee.

José Baselga, executive vice president, Oncology R&D, said the company was thrilled by the recommendation to unblind the trial much earlier than expected “and are incredibly excited with these unprecedented results in patients with early-stage EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer.”

The British drug maker said the data will be presented at a forthcoming medical meeting.

Last year, AstraZeneca said a late-stage study showed Tagrisso had significantly helped patients with a type of lung cancer live longer.

The company has moved deeper into cancer therapy through wide-ranging deals, including for immunotherapy and targeted therapy. Last year, it agreed a multi-billion dollar oncology deal with Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo Co.

In the fourth quarter, sales of Tagrisso fell short of forecasts due to adjustments for U.S. rebates and discounts, as AstraZeneca forecast a slowdown in revenue growth this year due to the hit from the coronavirus outbreak.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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