Astra Zeneca given new ovarian cancer drug go-ahead by regulator

Biopharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca has had a marketing authorisation application accepted for a new ovarian cancer drug.

The oral drug, Olaparib, kills cancer cells and has the potential to be used to treat a range of tumours. The granting of the application by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) means that it can be put on the market, having gone through a series of trials.

Ovarian cancer is the eighth most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the seventh biggest cause of cancer death among women globally. Treatments beyond the platinum-based chemotherapy currently used are vital for the 60 per cent of ovarian cancer patients whose cancer has spread by the time of diagnosis, as their five-year survival rate is less than 50 per cent.

Olaparib is made with a key enzyme in one of the DNA repair pathways in human cells.