AstraZeneca asthma drug fails to meet second trial target for COPD approval

Torjus Roberg
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The company revealed an increase in Fasenra sales earlier this month (Source: Getty)

Anglo-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca has revealed that its severe asthma drug Fasenra failed to meet its second trial target.

Fasenra, which is AstraZeneca's first respiratory biological medicine, is currently approved as an add-on asthma treatment in countries like the US, Japan and several EU nations. The company is now trying to get it approved for treating patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The inadequate results of the second phase III trial, nicknamed Terranova, were similar to the first trial results, Galathea, revealed earlier this month which also failed to meet expectations.

Read more: AstraZeneca's first quarter hit by disappointing sales but promises growth

Sean Bohen, executive vice president of the company, said: “These results are disappointing because uncontrolled COPD patients already on dual or triple inhaled therapy need new treatment options.”

“We will now analyse the complete data sets from the Galathea and Terranova trials to further understand these results.”

AstraZeneca announced poor sales in its first-quarter results earlier this month with a drop of two per cent, but predicted growth throughout the rest of the year. However, Fasenra was one of the few drugs that had actually had an increase in sales.

Woodford Equity Income Fund significantly reduced its holdings in AstraZeneca in March. The pharma company was the fund's top holding, accounting for eight per cent of its portfolio, but it was reduced down to one per cent.

Read more: AstraZeneca now expects results from its key Mystic trial later in 2018

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