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05 Feb 2021 | 08:05

AstraZeneca's Imfinzi fails to meet endpoint in cancer trial

(Sharecast News) - AstraZeneca said on Friday that its Imfinzi (durvalumab) drug failed to meet its primary endpoint in a Phase III trial for head and neck cancers. The drug did not improve survival versus current standard treatment in the first-line treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, the pharmaceuticals company said.

Dave Fredrickson, executive vice president of the Oncology business unit, said: "Metastatic head and neck cancer is a complex and challenging disease with a poor prognosis. While we are disappointed by these results, insights from the Kestrel Phase III trial will advance our understanding and application of immunotherapy across our clinical development programme.

"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."

The Kestrel trial was carried out in more than 200 centres across 23 countries, including centres in the US, Europe, South America and Asia.

Broker Liberum said: "Imfinzi has been a success for Astra and will deliver sales of over $2bn this year, but it increasingly looks boxed in by competing drugs (e.g. Keytruda) that have proven efficacy in a much broader range of indications (both Keytruda and Opdivo are approved in head & neck cancer).

"Astra's mainstay indication for Imfinzi is stage 3 lung cancer and a further study in this area (PACIFIC-2) is due to read out this year and will need to be a success to ensure Imfinzi retains its place in the market."
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