Sean Bohen, EVP of global medicines development and CMO at AstraZeneca, said: "While the results from the Mystic trial for progression-free survival in first-line Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer compared with standard of care are disappointing, the trial was created to assess overall survival and we look forward to evaluating the remaining primary endpoints of overall survival for both mono- and combination therapy".
Despite the negative initial results on disease progression, Soriot said there was still a chance the treatment might show a benefit in improving life expectancy when more data is available in 2018.
Although not formally tested, durvalumab monotherapy would not have met a prespecified threshold of PFS benefit compared with chemotherapy in this patient population, according to an AstraZeneca-issued press release.
"Our performance in the first half was in line with expectations as we experience the loss of exclusivity of Crestor and Seroquel XR in the US", AstraZeneca's chief executive Pascal Soriot commented in the statement, adding that he was "excited about our pipeline-driven transformation". Uncertainty about the MYSTIC outcome had been heightened recently by speculation that Soriot might be considering a highly paid new job as head of Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. "I'm proud to be the CEO of this company and I look forward to continuing on our journey ahead and continuing to lead the incredible team. the only thing I can tell you is I am here today".
AstraZeneca along with its global biologics R&D research arm MedImmune announced that their immune-oncology combo-treatment for non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC, did not meet the primary endpoint in a late-stage study.
The trial featured an immunotherapy drug, which AstraZeneca hopes will be able to be used as an alternative to chemotherapy in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in future, but results were disappointing.
Bristol-Myers Squibb famously learned that lesson the hard way, pushing to test its flagship checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo (nivolumab) in lung cancer patients with 1% or greater PD-L1 expression.
USA doubled fuel support for Saudi-led coalition
The civilians killed in the attack were refugees fleeing embattled Mawza district in Taiz governorate aboard a packed vehicle and were understood to be from the same family, UNHCR said.
Offsetting the MYSTIC hit, the company announced that Tagrisso significantly improved progression-free survival in another lung cancer trial called FLAURA.
Merck stock jumped; its immunotherapy drug Keytruda is already approved in advanced lung cancer, and analysts said these results are likely to solidify its position.
In the US, AstraZeneca said product sales were down 28% to USD3.01 billion from the year before, while sales in Europe also declined by 8.0% to USD2.72 billion.
The company's earnings figures for the second quarter were not rosy, either.
Industry analysts, on average, had forecast revenue of $5.0 billion and earnings of 80 cents, according to Thomson Reuters data.
As for dividend, that remained unchanged at US$0.90 (68.9p) a share as Astra repeated its full-year guidance.