New lung cancer drug boosts AstraZeneca as trials show improved survival rates

AstraZeneca’s lung cancer drug has showed improved survival rates in trials.

The results were a boost for the pharma giant as it seeks to bolster its pipeline.

The British firm said yesterday that the drug, being developed with Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo, could be ‘an important new treatment for patients’.

The FTSE 100 drugmaker last week outlined plans to almost double revenues by the end of the decade.

In its biggest investor update in 10 years, AstraZeneca’s boss Sir Pascal Soriot hailed a ‘new era of growth’ with the launch of 20 new medicines, with a focus on cancer drugs.

Trials boost: AstraZeneca said its lung cancer drug, being developed with Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo, could be ‘an important new treatment for patients’

Trials of datopotamab deruxtecan showed ‘clinically meaningful overall survival improvement’ in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer who had received previous treatment.

Susan Galbraith, AstraZeneca’s executive vice president of oncology research, yesterday said: ‘These results reinforce the potential for the treatment to replace conventional chemotherapy in this late-line setting and underscore our confidence in ongoing trials.’

But the firm said in the wider trial group, the treatment did not show statistically significant improvement in survival rates. 

Shares dipped 2.2 per cent amid fears that could cast a shadow over regulatory discussions in the US and the EU.

AstraZeneca, meanwhile, is pushing ahead with plans to boost revenue to £60billion by 2030.

Sales hit £36billion in sales last year – a target set in 2014 shortly after Soriot defeated a takeover bid from US rival Pfizer.

The new revenue goal was set after he faced an investor revolt over his £18.9m pay packet.

Soriot has revived the firm’s fortunes since taking charge in 2012, with shares soaring more than 300 per cent. 

He is credited with rebuilding the drugs pipeline with blockbuster cancer treatments. 

Some of the medicines in the pipeline have the potential to generate around £4billion of revenue in a peak year, he said.

As part of its growth plans, AstraZeneca this month announced it will open a £1.2billion factory in Singapore to make a cancer drug that could replace traditional chemotherapy.