AstraZeneca's Imfinzi shows sustained benefit in lung cancer study

FILE PHOTO: The company logo for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, U.S., April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - AstraZeneca Plc said on Tuesday longer-term data from a late-stage trial on its cancer drug, Imfinzi, in combination with chemotherapies showed sustained improvement in overall survival of certain lung cancer patients, sending its shares up 4%.

The results confirm a previous set of data from the same study, which was published in September and had led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to give the drug a priority review status two months later.

AstraZeneca has been trying to broaden the use of Imfinzi, which was the first immunotherapy to be approved for stage III lung cancer, by testing it as a standalone and a combo treatment for different forms of cancer.

The study also tested the combination of Imfinzi with another immunotherapy, tremelimumab, as a first-line treatment in patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer, the company said.

However, the treatment failed to meet the main goal of improving overall survival in patients, its second such setback in less than a month. The combo drug had earlier failed to meet the main goal of a late-stage study for a form of bladder cancer.

Imfinzi is also being tested in a separate late stage study in certain patients with a form of lung cancer for which data is expected in 2021, AstraZeneca said.

Shares of the British drugmaker were up 3.6% at 6447p at 0914 GMT.

Reporting by Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru and Ludwig Burger; Editing by Anil D’Silva