AstraZeneca AZN reported positive high-level results from multiple late-stage studies evaluating its blockbuster cancer drugs Tagrisso (osimertinib) and Imfinzi (durvalumab) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) indication.
The phase III ADAURA study evaluated Tagrisso as an adjuvant treatment for patients with early-stage (IB, II and IIIA) epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated (EGFRm) NSCLC. Data from the study showed that treatment with Tagrisso led to statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in overall survival (OS), a key secondary endpoint, compared to placebo. Management did not report any safety concerns in study participants.
The ADAURA study had earlier achieved its primary endpoint of disease-free survival (DFS). Last year, management announced that treatment with Tagrisso demonstrated a median DFS of nearly 5.5 years.
Tagrisso is already approved for adjuvant early-stage EGFRm NSCLC based on data from the ADAURA study. Apart from this indication, the drug is already approved in two other NSCLC indications.
Tagrisso is also being evaluated by AstraZeneca in earlier stages of lung cancer, including in the neoadjuvant resectable setting, Stage IA2-IA3 adjuvant resectable setting and Stage III locally-advanced unresectable setting.
Shares of AstraZeneca have lost 5.5% in the year compared to the industry’s 8.8% decline.
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In a separate press release, AstraZeneca also announced positive interim data from the phase III AEGEAN study, which evaluated Imfinzi before and after surgery in patients with resectable early-stage (IIA-IIIB) NSCLC. Management announced that the study achieved the other primary endpoint of event-free survival (EFS), i.e., treatment with Imfinzi significantly increased the time patients live without recurrence or progression events.
Last year, management announced that the AEGEAN study achieved its primary endpoint of pathologic complete response (pCR) with statistical significance and meaningful improvement in the above patient group.
Imfinzi is already approved for multiple cancer indications. While the drug is already approved for two NSCLC indications, it is also approved in extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC), biliary tract cancer (BTC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (uHCC) indications.
AstraZeneca is focused on strengthening its oncology business. In 2022, AZN generated $14.6 billion worth of total revenues from its Oncology business, reflecting a 19% year-over-year rise in the constant exchange rate, driven by a solid performance of newer medicines, such as Tagrisso, Lynparza, Imfinzi and Calquence. Management is working to further strengthen this portfolio through label expansions and advancing oncology pipeline candidates. AstraZeneca aims to develop a treatment for every form of cancer.
AstraZeneca PLC Price
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Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
AstraZeneca currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the overall healthcare sector include Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation ADPT, CRISPR Therapeutics ADCT andNovo Nordisk NVO. While Novo Nordisk sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Adaptive Biotechnologies and CRISPR Therapeutics carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Estimates for Adaptive Biotechnologies’ 2023 loss per share have narrowed from $1.30 to $1.15 in the past 30 days. During the same period, the loss per share estimates for 2024 have narrowed from 99 cents to 94 cents. Shares of Adaptive Biotechnologies have risen 7.6% year-to-date.
Earnings of Adaptive Biotechnologies beat estimates in three of the last four quarters and missed the mark on one occasion, the average surprise being 10.75%. In the last reported quarter, ADPT delivered an earnings surprise of 24.32%.
In the past 30 days, estimates for CRISPR Therapeutics’ 2023 loss per share have narrowed from $8.21 to $7.39. Shares of CRISPR Therapeutics have risen 12.6% in the year-to-date period.
Earnings of CRISPR Therapeutics beat estimates in two of the last four quarters while missing the mark on the other two occasions, witnessing an earnings surprise of 3.19%, on average. In the last reported quarter, CRISPR Therapeutics’ earnings beat estimates by 39.22%.
In the past 30 days, estimates for Novo Nordisk’ 2023 earnings per share have risen from $4.20 to $4.43. During the same period, the earnings for 2024 have risen from $4.90 to $5.19. Shares of Novo Nordisk have risen 4.9% in the year-to-date period.
Earnings of Novo Nordisk beat estimates in three of the last four quarters while missing the mark on one occasion, witnessing an earnings surprise of 3.00%, on average. In the last reported quarter, Novo Nordisk’ earnings beat estimates by 2.47%.
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