AstraZeneca starts late-stage programme for MEDI4736 immunotherapy in lung cancer

AstraZeneca announced Thursday the start of a Phase III programme for its immunotherapy candidate MEDI4736 for the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Briggs Morrison, the company's head of global drug development, noted that the start of the programme "is further evidence of our commitment to invest in distinctive science in our core therapy areas and to rapidly progress our immuno-oncology pipeline."

The programme's first study, called the PACIFIC trial, will evaluate progression-free survival and overall survival of MEDI4736 compared to placebo in 702 patients with locally advanced, unresectable NSCLC following completion of treatment with chemoradiotherapy and no evidence of tumour progression. The study follows the evaluation of the safety profile and clinical activity of the PD-L1 inhibitor in a Phase I trial, data from which will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. AstraZeneca, which disclosed last month that it planned to initiate a late-stage study of MEDI4736, noted that the PACIFIC trial "is the first pivotal study of an immunotherapy in this patient population."

Earlier this month, AstraZeneca suggested that its current drug pipeline could generate between $23 billion and $63 billion in combined revenue, with peaks sales of about $6.5 billion estimated for MEDI4736 (for related analysis, read ViewPoints: Bullish outlook for pipeline designed to reverse decade long malaise at AstraZeneca). The prediction came as the company highlighted its potential performance as an independent drugmaker in the wake of takeover interest from Pfizer.

For more information on the lung cancer market, see Non-small Cell Lung Cancer: Game changing immunotherapies to revolutionise treatment - KOL Insight.

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