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Immuno-therapy trials key for AstraZeneca says broker

Thursday, November 10, 2016 9:41
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Analysts played down AstraZeneca’s (LON:AZN) slight miss on sales and earnings in its  third quarter and said all attention is on its immuno-therapy cancer treatment pipeline.

Trial results are due in the first half for 2017 for a combination treatment for head and neck cancer (Mystic and Kestrel) and lung cancer (Artic).

Astra lags well behind rivals Bristol Myers, Merck and Roche in single drug treatments (monotherapies) said Cantor Fitzgerald but the broker believes the Astra combination therapy (principally durvalumab/tremelimumab) will enable it to leapfrog the competition.

Reports recently have indicated there was some bleeding in the Kestrel and Eagle (also head and neck) trials but Cantor said this is known complication of these type of tumours.

The durva/treme combination is key for Astra believes the broker and may ultimately form the backbone of future combinations in cancer and other areas such as DNA damage repair (DDR).

Astra’s revenues fell 4% in the three months to September to US$5.7bn, with earnings per share of US$0.8 boosted by a US$0.36 tax benefit.

Guidance for the full year was unchanged.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive said: “The performance in the third quarter was in line with our expectations, reflecting the transitional impact from the first full quarter of generic competition to Crestor in the US. “

Shares fell 1.4% to 4,512p.

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