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The jackpot cancer immunotherapy ambitions of AstraZeneca stumbled in July with the failure of a closely watched clinical trial in newly diagnosed lung cancer. Friday, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker attempts a recovery with positive results from a new study, also in lung cancer, but aimed at a niche group of patients.

AstraZeneca still trails cancer immunotherapy leaders Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb, but staking a claim in lung cancer marks progress.


In the phase 3 clinical trial AstraZeneca calls PACIFIC, the checkpoint inhibitor Imfinzi cut the risk of tumor progression by 48 percent compared to a placebo. At the median, lung cancer patients treated with Imfinzi went 16.8 months before tumors started to grow again compared to 5.6 months for placebo. The Imfinzi benefit was statistically significant.

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