) has initiated a phase III program for its oncology candidate,
selumetinib. The company is looking to get selumetinib approved
as second-line treatment in patients, who suffer from advanced or
metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with KRAS
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The SELECT-1 (SELumetinib Evaluation as Combination Therapy-1)
study aims to enroll 634 NSCLC patients to compare the safety and
efficacy of selumetinib in combination with
) Taxotere (docetaxel) to Taxotere and placebo. Results will be
measured on the basis of progression free survival (PFS) and
AstraZeneca advanced selumetinib into phase III studies on the
basis of encouraging data from a randomized phase II study, Study
16, evaluating selumetinib plus Taxotere versus Taxotere alone in
KRAS-mutation positive NSCLC. Statistically significant PFS was
observed in the selumetinib plus Taxotere arm (5.3 months) as
compared to Taxotere alone (2.1 months).
We remind investors that in 2003, AstraZeneca acquired exclusive
worldwide rights to selumetinib from
Generic competition has been adversely impacting AstraZeneca's
revenues over the past few quarters. This has put significant
pressure on the company.
In a bid to add late-stage candidates to its pipeline,
AstraZeneca entered into a number of acquisition deals (Pearl
Therapeutics and Omthera Pharmaceuticals) in the last few months
and agreements with companies such as FibroGen, Inc.
AstraZeneca, a large-cap pharma company, presently carries a
Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other large-cap pharma stocks such as
) looks well positioned with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).