AstraZeneca has just had a new lung cancer drug approved by US regulators, in what will be seen as a major coup for the British pharmaceutical manufacturer.
The drug in question is AZD9291, which will be ultimately go on sale under the brand name Tagrisso.
Notable for targeting the genetic mutation known as T790M, Tagrisso effectively usurps existing cancer medication which is unable to deal with this problem.
The drug is intended to specifically target advanced non-small-cell lung cancer; the most common form of lung cancer.
Having passed US regulatory measures, the drug will now be made available to patients in the United States as soon as possible.
Although pricing has yet to be publicised, AstraZeneca have stated that they will reveal the price early this week.
It was stated by a spokeswoman that the pricing will ultimately be comparable to existing cancer treatments.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women, accounting for one-third of cancer deaths, more than breast, prostate and colorectal cancers combined.
So this drug breakthrough could be excellent news for cancer sufferers all over the world.
This latest treatment has been developed in Cheshire, and is one of several drugs that AstraZeneca is currently developing.
The company has recently been targeted by American rival Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, but AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot has cited this drug and other products in a defence against this prospect.
AstraZeneca estimates that Tagrisso could bring in sales of $3bn (£2bn) annually, which is greatly needed by the corporation considering that sales of older drugs are diminishing, and therefore losing patient protection.
The move by AstraZeneca is indicative of a scramble of drug companies to enter the immunotherapy market.
Experts believe that immunotherapy could eventually be worth in the region of £26 billion annually in sales.
Thus, Tagrisso could be an extremely valuable commodity for AstraZeneca, particularly as the drug performed so admirably in trials.
According to Richard Pazdur of the FDA’s centre for drug evaluation and research, the Tagrisso tablet had a “significant effect on reducing tumour size in over half of patients who were treated.”
The approval of the drug is a step in the right direction for AstraZeneca, with the company continuing its odyssey of creating and marketing six new cancer treatments to patients by the end of the decade.
This latest decision follows the previous launch of Lynparza for ovarian cancer in the US.
Tagrisso was first tested on humans just 30 months ago.
It had received breakthrough status in the US and has also received accelerated assessment in the EU following its filing in the summer, as well as priority review in Japan.