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AstraZeneca's Imfinzi Fails To Prolong Survival In Late-Stage Head And Neck Cancer Study

  • AstraZeneca Plc (NASDAQ: AZN) has reported that a Phase 3 KESTREL trial testing Imfinzi (durvalumab) as the first-line treatment of head and neck cancer did not meet the primary endpoint of improving overall survival, compared to the EXTREME treatment regimen (chemotherapy plus cetuximab), a standard of care.
  • “We will continue to build on the established benefits of Imfinzi in early lung cancer and small cell lung cancer, to bring immunotherapy treatment options to all patients who may benefit,” said Dave Fredrickson, head of oncology.
  • AZN said that safety and tolerability profiles for Imfinzi as a monotherapy and in combination with tremelimumab were consistent with previous trials. It will share the data in due course.
  • Revenues from Imfinzi, mainly used against certain lung cancer types, gained 42% to $1.48 billion in the first nine months of 2020.
  • According to a broker, Liberum, “Imfinzi has been a success for Astra and will deliver sales of over $2 billion this year, but it increasingly looks boxed in by competing drugs, such as Merck’s Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo that have proven efficacy in a much broader range of indications.” Also, both these medications are approved for head & neck cancer.
  • Last month, Imfinzi was approved in the EU and the U.K. for an additional dosing option of 1,500mg fixed dose every four weeks in locally advanced, unresectable non-small cell lung cancer. The new option extends dosing from two to four weeks, thus reducing medical visits.
  • Price Action: AZN shares dipped 0.68% at $50.02 in the premarket session on the last check Friday.

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