AstraZeneca's Tagrisso helps lung cancer patients live longer: study

(Corrects Aug. 9 story to show study points to overall survival and not progression free survival in first paragraph)

FILE PHOTO: A sign is seen at an AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield, central England May 19, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

(Reuters) - AstraZeneca Plc said on Friday a late-stage study showed its top-selling drug, Tagrisso, had significantly helped patients with a type of lung cancer live longer.

The British drugmaker announced overall positive survival results from the study in patients with epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

Tagrisso was the only medicine that had shown statistically-significant overall survival benefit in this type of disease setting, AstraZeneca said.

The company has moved deeper into cancer therapy through wide-ranging deals, including those for immunotherapy and targeted therapy. Earlier this year, it agreed a multi-billion dollar oncology deal with Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo Co.

Sales from AstraZeneca’s oncology unit had soared 57% to $2.17 billion in the second quarter, accounting for 38% of total product sales, with revenue Tagrisso nearly doubling to $784 million.

AstraZeneca had also raised its product sales forecast for 2019, thanks in part to strong sales of cancer drugs.

(For a graphic on 'Oncology and China sales boost AstraZeneca' click

“Today’s positive results show that Tagrisso provides an unprecedented survival outcome versus previous standard-of-care ... reaffirming Tagrisso as the 1st-line standard-of-care,” José Baselga, executive vice president, oncology R&D, said in a statement.

Tagrisso is currently approved in 74 countries, including the United States, Japan and the European Union, for treating the specific kind of cancer.

AstraZeneca had said on Wednesday its cancer drug, Lynparza, was successful in helping patients with metastatic prostate cancer and certain genetic mutations live longer without the disease worsening, compared with the standard of care.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva