AstraZeneca, which developed a crucial coronavirus vaccine with the help of Oxford, has now announced a major breakthrough during a late-stage trial of breast cancer drug Enhertu. They found that the patients with advanced forms of the disease who had previously been treated with another therapy had enjoyed positive improvements when treated with their drug.
This news sent shares for the major pharmaceutical firm to record highs, with AstraZeneca’s shares going up about two percent on Monday morning.
Enhertu is a specifically engineered HER2-directed antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) that is being jointly developed by AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo, and is one of the flagship drugs currently being developed by the Cambridge-based firm.
ADCs consist of a monoclonal antibody chemically linked to a cell-killing chemotherapy drug.
According to the Times, earlier trial results of the treatment prompted a rare standing ovation at a key American medical oncology conference last June.
Susan Galbraith, Executive Vice President, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca, said, “The DESTINY-Breast02 trial results in this patient population with advanced disease confirm the efficacy and safety profile seen in DESTINY-Breast01 and are consistent with the results seen across our broader clinical programme in HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.
“These data further strengthen our confidence in Enhertu and reinforce its potential to transform patient outcomes across multiple treatment settings.”
Ken Takeshita, Global Head, R&D, Daiichi Sankyo, said: “The top-line results from DESTINY-Breast02 confirm the robust progression-free survival seen in previous trials of Enhertu and enrich our clinical understanding of the benefit this therapy may offer patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.
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“As this is the confirmatory trial for our current breast cancer indication in Europe and several other countries, we look forward to sharing these findings with regulatory authorities to add to the body of data for Enhertu for the treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.”
Earlier this month, the two pharmaceutical companies secured US approval for specifically targeting patients that are diagnosed with the so-called HER2-low breast cancer, which could pave the way for billions in sales.
Since being approved for HER-2 positive disease treatment in late 2019, the drug has since been approved in other breast cancer settings, as well as forms of lung and gastric cancer.
AstraZeneca noted that the latest results showed Enhertu improved progression-free survival for breast in situations where the disease has not worsened when compared with the doctor’s choice of treatment after two previous therapies.