Success Of Breast Cancer Trial Boosts Oncology Credentials Of AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca said its Enhertu cancer medicine has been demonstrated to assist women with a kind of breast cancer that has limited treatment choices, potentially opening the door to a much bigger patient population.

Alongside low levels of a protein known as HER2, Enhertu extended life and reduced the spread of metastatic breast cancer, according to AstraZeneca, which is developing the medicine with Daiichi Sankyo of Japan.

It said that specific results of the late-stage experiment will be revealed at an as-yet-undisclosed medical conference and that the improvement was “clinically important” when compared to regular treatment.

The business stated that it will contact regulatory bodies to facilitate a quick consideration of the drug’s expanded use.

While the study was limited to low-HER2 patients with tumours that had spread to certain other parts of the body, analysts believe that a positive trial outcome could pave the way for future use in patients at an earlier stage of the disease, with hundreds of thousands of new patients becoming eligible each year.

The news is expected to cement the Anglo-Swedish firm’s reputation as one of the world’s fastest-growing big pharmaceutical companies, thanks to its high success record in cancer therapy research.

Despite a drop in sales of its widely used Covid-19 vaccination, it has anticipated greater group revenues for 2022, led by cancer therapies such as Tagrisso against lung tumors and treatments for renal illness and uncommon disorders.

On Monday, the company’s stock was up 2.1 per cent, exceeding a 0.15 per cent rise in the STOXX Europe 600 Health Care index and extending a 5-per cent gain in the previous four trading days.

“HER2 low is a large and previously unaddressed patient pool in breast cancer,” analysts at Credit Suisse said in a note. They added that they saw a 50 per cent probability of $3 billion peak sales potential from the new patient group.

In a deal worth up to $6.9 billion, AstraZeneca acquired rights to the Daiichi Sankyo chemical three years ago. When compared to Kadcyla, the ADC medicine from Roche, the world’s largest cancer drug company, Enhertu has been demonstrated to treat women with metastatic breast cancer with high levels of HER2.

“This is about redefining the categorization of breast cancer and increasing the number of options for women,” said Susan Galbraith, Astra’s head of oncology research and development.

While the latest research focused on women who had tried three to four previous medications, she emphasized that further studies will be conducted in the future to test Enhertu on women who were in the early stages of the illness, both with high and low HER2, which would be a significantly bigger patient population.

Enhertu belongs to the antibody-drug conjugates (ADC) class of medicines, which are designed antibodies that attach to tumor cells and subsequently release cell-killing chemicals.

This resulted in the initial approval of the market in late 2019. A new approval was granted for HER2-driven stomach cancer. Other types of stomach, lung, and colorectal cancers are also being studied with the medication.

Although Roche’s well-known Herceptin medicine is likewise based on the HER2 receptor, Enhertu is meant to provide a considerably bigger cell-killing punch, allowing therapy with even low levels of HER2.

(Adapted from


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