Successful trials of a new anti-cancer drug saw AstraZeneca’s share price jump 9% on Friday (May 12), reaching a high of 5,202 before easing back to 5,176 at the end of the day.
The rally took AstraZeneca shares to their highest point in a month, providing a welcome relief for the pharma sector.
Earlier in the week shares in Hikma Pharmaceuticals fell nearly 10% after its generic version of the GSK drug Advair Diskus was turned down by the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).
The new AstraZeneca drug, Imfinzi, is a human monoclonal antibody that binds to a tumour and provokes a response from the body’s immune system, destroying the cancer.
It is the first time this type of drug has been used successfully to treat patients with lung cancer who had not responded to chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Approval to treat bladder cancer
AstraZeneca has also received accelerated approval from the FDA to trial Imfinzi in patients with advanced bladder cancer.
Sean Bohen, executive vice-president for global medicines development and chief medical officer at AstraZeneca, said: “These are highly encouraging results for patients with locally-advanced lung cancer for whom surgery is not an option.
“We look forward to working with regulatory authorities around the world to bring Imfinzi to lung cancer patients as soon as possible.
“Alongside this, we continue to explore Imfinzi’s full potential as monotherapy as well as in combination with tremelimumab and other medicines in areas of continued unmet need across multiple types of cancer."