Coronavirus: AstraZeneca’s cancer drug disappoints as potential COVID-19 treatment
AstraZeneca’s blood cancer treatment, Calquence, failed to improve survival rates and prevent lung failure in patients hospitalized with symptoms of COVID-19, the drugmaker said on Thursday, citing results from mid-stage trials.
Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.
The company called the outcome “disappointing”. It said its other efforts to combat the pandemic - a possible vaccine developed with Oxford University, and an experimental antibody-based COVID-19 treatment - were not affected.
AstraZeneca is among leading contenders in the race for a working vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Competitor Pfizer Inc this week published efficacy data that were seen as a major milestone on the way to a global immunization campaign next year.
Calquence, chemically called acalabrutinib, belongs to a class of drugs called Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors which can suppress autoimmune diseases - conditions where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body itself.
COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms including pneumonia are believed to suffer from an overreaction of the immune system known as cytokine storm.
AstraZeneca had aimed to test whether Calquence, which suppresses certain elements of the immune system, can contain this immune response.
Results from the trials will not impact approved indications or pending approvals for Calquence in patients with blood cancers, the British company said.
The drug, which is already used to treat certain types of cancers of the blood, is an approved treatment of adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in the United States and several other countries.
Coronavirus: Israel in talks with Pfizer over COVID-19 vaccine, Netanyahu saysIsrael is in talks with drugmaker Pfizer Inc over its potential COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, although it has ... Coronavirus
Coronavirus: Gates Foundation pledges $70 mln for COVID-19 vaccines, equal accessThe Gates Foundation added another $70 million of funding on Thursday to global efforts to develop and distribute vaccines and treatments against the ... Coronavirus
Oil prices up on hopes for coronavirus vaccine, declining US crude stocksOil prices climbed on Wednesday as hopes of an effective COVID-19 vaccine continued to bolster sentiment and an industry report showed US crude ... Energy