One of AstraZeneca's big pipeline drugs just failed a late-stage trial

Billy Bambrough
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AztraZeneca said the failure of the drug would not have a material effect on earnings (Source: Getty)

Cambridge-based pharma firm AstraZeneca has suffered a set back after a new cancer drug failed at the trial stage.

Experimental drug selumetinib failed to meet its goals – helping patients live longer or prevent the disease from worsening when combined with chemotherapy – in a late-stage trial for lung cancer.

Shares in the company closed down by 0.3 per cent. Analysts polled by Bloomberg predicted the drug would have had annual sales of $287m (£220m) by 2021.

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“We remain committed to further developing treatments in the lung cancer setting, such as our immunotherapy combinations and targeted epidermal growth factor receptor treatments,” said AstraZeneca chief medical officer Sean Bohen.

Meanwhile the company that sold the drug to AstraZeneca in 2003 was heavily sold off in New York. The US based firm – Array BioPharma – was in line to receive development milestones and royalties from Astra on sales of the drug.

Last week another US pharma firm – Bristol-Myers Squibb – said its cancer medicine Opdivo failed in a study that would have been the basis for widely expanding its use, sending shares sharply lower.

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