AstraZeneca-Merck drug Lynparza shows promise in prostate cancer treatment

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AstraZeneca and Merck & Co., Inc. announced positive results from the Phase III PROfound trial of Lynparza (olaparib) in men with a type of advanced prostate cancer.

Results from the trial showed a statistically-significant and clinically-meaningful improvement.

José Baselga, executive vice president, Oncology R&D, said: “For men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer the disease remains deadly, especially in those who have failed on a new hormonal anticancer treatment. This trial is the only positive Phase III trial of any PARP inhibitor in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, where the need for new, effective therapies is high. The PROfound trial also demonstrates the potential value of genomic testing in this at-risk patient population. We look forward to discussing these results with global health authorities soon.”

Prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer in men, with an estimated 1.3 million new cases diagnosed worldwide in 2018 and is associated with a significant mortality rate.

Development of prostate cancer is often driven by male sex hormones called androgens, including testosterone. metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer occurs when prostate cancer grows and spreads to other parts of the body despite the use of androgen-deprivation therapy to block the action of male sex hormones.

Despite an increase in the number of available therapies for men with mCRPC, five-year survival remains low.

Lynparza was jointly developed by Merck and AstraZeneca. The price for 120 pills can run more than $7,300, although costs vary depending on insurance, patient assistance programs from pharmaceutical companies and other factors.

Lynparza is currently approved in 64 countries, including those in the EU, for types of ovarian and breast cancer.

Lynparza has been used in over 25,000 patients worldwide.

In July 2017, AstraZeneca and Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, US, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced a global strategic oncology collaboration.

AstraZeneca employs an estimated 1,500 in Delaware.

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