AstraZeneca highlights continued progress of oncology pipeline at ASCO 2016


AstraZeneca and its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, will provide an update on their extensive oncology pipeline at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, USA, on 3-7 June 2016.


Highlights will include new data demonstrating the strength and versatility of AstraZeneca’s industry-leading line of DNA damage response (DDR) medicines in multiple types of cancer. New data will highlight the continued momentum behind AstraZeneca’s numerous immuno-oncology (IO) programmes, and showcase small-molecule developments including Tagrisso (osimertinib) in leptomeningeal (brain) disease and the highly-selective Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, acalabrutinib, in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

Sean Bohen, Executive Vice President, Global Medicines Development and Chief Medical Officer at AstraZeneca, said: “Oncology is a strategic priority for AstraZeneca because of the potential of our broad pipeline to offer transformational therapies in cancer care. At ASCO, we will update on our next-generation portfolio focusing on DNA damage response as a breakthrough paradigm in cancer treatment, including new long-term overall survival data for Lynparza. Our increased commitment to DDR therapies complements developments in our exciting immuno-oncology pipeline, from which we are expecting clinical results over the coming year.”

DDR: A promising scientific platform, a leading position for AstraZeneca

DDR is a term describing the network of cellular pathways that minimise the daily impact of DNA damage. Currently, many cancers are known to have defects in DDR pathways, which makes them dependent on and therefore, highly sensitive to inhibition of the remaining DDR pathways. Targeting DDR deficiencies to preferentially kill cancer cells, while minimising the impact on normal cells, has potential for more selective, better tolerated therapies to improve survival in multiple cancers.

AstraZeneca is developing a comprehensive pipeline of compounds that target molecular pathways across the DDR system. These include the PARP inhibitor Lynparza (olaparib); Wee1 inhibitor AZD1775, ATM inhibitor AZD0156; ATR inhibitor AZD6738, and Aurora B Kinase inhibitor AZD2811. These compounds act on different cell-cycle points to prevent tumour cells from reproducing.

At the ASCO congress, DDR presentations will highlight:

  • The potential for maintenance of DDR therapies as shown by Lynparza overall survival data from Study 19 in ovarian cancer (Abstract # 5501). This abstract has been selected as a “Best of ASCO” abstract.
  • Opportunities for combination approaches with DDR and immuno-oncology therapies as shown in a Phase I study of the PD-L1 inhibitor, durvalumab, in combination with Lynparza or a VEGFR inhibitor, cediranib, in women's cancers (Abstract # 3015)
  • The importance of selecting patients with a DDR pathway defect using the right diagnostic tool (abstract #4041)
  • The potential of DDR therapies against multiple biological DDR targets in different tumour types, with studies of the highly-selective WEE1 inhibitor, AZD1775, in advanced high-grade serous ovarian cancer (Abstract # TPS5610), squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) (Abstract # TPS6106), advanced solid tumours (Abstract # TPS2608) and glioblastoma (GBM) (Abstract # 2008)

Immuno-Oncology: Robust development momentum on track for read-outs in H1 2017

AstraZeneca is leading in a number of first-line studies with its IO strategy, where combined PD-L1 and CTLA-4 blockade - through the combination of durvalumab and tremelimumab - may address a significant unmet medical need for cancer patients who may not benefit from PD-1 pathway drugs in monotherapy.

Key updates include presentations covering pre-clinical data, late-stage trials and biomarker research:

  • Early study results of durvalumab monotherapy in urothelial bladder cancer from Phase Ib Study 1108 (Abstract # 4502)
  • Final results from a Phase III study of tremelimumab in mesothelioma (Abstract # 8502)
  • New study results on safety and clinical activity of durvalumab as first-line treatment in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (Abstract # 9029)
  • Ongoing investigation of the potential synergistic effects of durvalumab and the CTLA-4 inhibitor, tremelimumab, in bladder cancer (DANUBE trial - Abstract # TPS4574) and SCCHN (KESTREL trial - Abstract # TPS6101)
  • Enhanced understanding of PD-L1 biomarker expression in relation to primary versus metastatic tumours and sample age (Abstract # 3025)

Tagrisso in brain metastasis; acalabrutinib in CLL

AstraZeneca’s strong heritage in developing innovative targeted small molecules was underscored by the recent approval of Tagrisso as the first indicated treatment for EGFR T790M mutation-positive metastatic NSCLC in the US, EU and Japan. At ASCO, new data will highlight the importance of Tagrisso activity in leptomeningeal disease through its ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. Further presentations will show the growing role of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) testing for diagnosis and treatment monitoring.

Key updates will also include presentation on the potential of our potent, highly-selective BTK inhibitor, acalabrutinib, in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL):

  • Data from the BLOOM study of Tagrisso in patients with leptomeningeal disease as a complication of EGFRm-metastatic NSCLC (Abstract # 9002)
  • Intensive plasma ctDNA profiling in experimental trials to identify markers of acquired drug resistance (Abstract # 11530)
  • Acalabrutinib – preliminary results from a first-line study as first-line therapy in CLL (Abstract # 7521) and in a Phase II study in combination with pembrolizumab in metastatic pancreatic cancer (Abstract # 4130)


Media Enquiries
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Jacob Lund  Sweden  +46 8 553 260 20

Michele Meixell  US  +1 302 885 2677


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AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases.