AstraZeneca share price suffers biggest ever drop on drug trial results

Posted July 28, 2017

The pairing of AZ's new PD-L1 inhibitor Imfinzi (durvalumab) and CTLA4 blocker tremelimumab - the foundations of its nascent cancer immunotherapy franchise - as well as Imfinzi given on its own failed to improve progression-free survival (PFS) when given to newly-diagnosed non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.

AstraZeneca will continue to follow patients in the MYSTIC study, hoping that the combination of Imfinzi and tremelimumab might help patients live longer than chemotherapy alone.

Final overall survival data is expected during the first half of 2018.

Given that the focus around AstraZeneca is on its pipeline, the first half results played second fiddle this morning.

Net income totaled $477 million compared with a loss of $3 million in the same quarter previous year as AstraZeneca reined in costs and increased sales of cancer drugs.

AstraZeneca's top line has been shrinking for several years as its historic best-sellers such as cholesterol-lowering pill Crestor lose patent protection, allowing cheap copycats to enter the market.

Lung cancer is the single biggest market opportunity and Jefferies analyst Jeffrey Holford said the MYSTIC setback removed around 10 to 15 percent of mid-term earnings potential.

Analysing Mithali Raj and Co's chances for next mega-event
For a women's IPL, the general standard of the game needs to be good and Mithali feels that it has happened as the statistics of this World Cup suggests.

De Gea staying put: Jose
However, Jose Mourinho said this week that he can "guarantee" the Spain worldwide will be staying at Old Trafford this summer. The goalkeeper has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid yet again with Spanish club monitoring De Gea for years.

Cavs talking contract with former NBA MVP Rose
Rose is no longer thought of as a franchise player, nor as a point guard that fits the kind of basketball most teams envision. Rose has met with several teams over the past three weeks, including the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers .

As for dividend, that remained unchanged at US$0.90 (68.9p) a share as Astra repeated its full-year guidance.

Analysts at Jefferies said in a note this morning: "We have modeled $5.1 billion peak sales around Mystic, but heavily risk-adjusted: We now model around $3.3 billion in peak sales for durvalumab in metastatic NSCLC and around $1.8 billion for tremelimumab, which is primarily predicated on the outcome of Mystic". Obviously, today's news regarding its drug trial is disappointing, and it would not surprise me if its share price fell further in the short run.

"As a secondary endpoint, although not formally tested, Imfinzi monotherapy would not have met a pre-specified threshold of PFS benefit over SoC in this disease setting", the companies added.

The separately reported Phase III FLAURA study showed that Tagrisso monotherapy led to statistically significant, and clinically meaningful improvements in PFS compared with current 1st-line SoC using erlotinib or gefitinb, in previously untreated patients with locally advanced or metastatic epidermal growth actor receptor mutation-positive (EGFRm) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Analysts reckon Tagrisso could have peak sales in excess of US$3bn a year.

AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot described the move as an "exciting step" with "a company that shares our passion for science to deliver new medicines for cancer patients". As part of the agreement, Merck will pay AstraZeneca up to $8.5 billion in total consideration, including $1.6 billion upfront, $750 million for certain license options and up to $6.15 billion contingent on successful achievement of future regulatory and sales milestones.