AstraZeneca looks to DNA damage-response drugs for edge in oncology
- AstraZeneca will be unveiling its DNA damage-response (DDR) research at the upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting next month, according to Reuters.
- According to CEO Pascal Soriot, DDR is an emerging field in oncology and one where AstraZeneca hopes to lead the way before other companies develop similar therapeutics.
- One example of DDR that will be highlighted at ASCO is a therapy combining AstraZeneca's ovarian cancer drug Lynparza with an WEE1 inhibitor.
AstraZeneca has had to deal with a flurry of patent expirations on top-selling drugs, including its heartburn drug, Nexium, which generated roughly $3 billion per year at its height.
However, AstraZeneca is focused on investing in oncology to drive revenues in the future. Lynparza, the only FDA-approved PARP inhibitor has made a strong impact on the market for ovarian cancer treatment, and according to AstraZeneca, represents the forefront of the DDR therapeutics movement.
Going forward, AstraZeneca is looking not only to pioneer DDR therapeutics, but to also break into immuno-oncology. Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck have already captured significant market share with their drugs Opdivo and Keytruda. AstraZeneca, meanwhile, has pegged its hopes to a combination therapy which pairs durvalumab and tremelimumab, according to Reuters.
But durvalumab hit a setback in December after trial results failed to support submission for approval as a monotherapy.
Overall, AstraZeneca continues to work feverishly to carve out a space in the growing oncology space---which is projected to be worth $175 billion by 2020. Higher revenues from cancer drugs could help the company reach its lofty goal of generating $45 billion per year in revenues by 2023.