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AstraZeneca’s Imfinzi Extends Survival in Aggressive Lung Cancer

AstraZeneca’s cancer treatment Imfinzi has been proven to prolong survival in a particularly aggressive type of lung cancer by close to three months, as the British drug producer holds its ground in a crowded subject against rival immunotherapy drugs.

Imfinzi, when combined with chemotherapy, led to a median 13 months survival in a late-stage small cell lung cancer case, the British drug producer stated Monday, including trial details to a short statement published in June.

Patients in a reference group on chemotherapy lived a median 10.3 months within the so-called Caspian trial, it stated.

“There’s a wide recognition that in small cell lung cancer there’s very much a necessity for new therapies,” said Dave Fredrickson, head of the firm’s oncology business.

AstraZeneca has already carved out a distinct segment for Imfinzi, which enables the immune system to detect and attack specific cancer cells, in the more common non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) setting, with permission for tumors that have only spread in the chest.

Merck & Co’s immunotherapy bestseller Keytruda has become the usual treatment option for the larger group of NSCLC sufferers which are diagnosed at a more advanced stage of the disease.

In the small cell type of cancer, Astra is seeking to meet up with Roche, whose immunotherapy Tecentriq won U.S. permit for the disease type in March.

After 18 months, a 3rd of the sufferers on Imfinzi and chemotherapy were alive, in contrast with merely about one quarter in the comparable group on chemotherapy, AstraZeneca stated.

Imfinzi made $633 million in sales in 2018.

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