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Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Could AstraZeneca shares benefit from new cancer drug?

The pharmaceutical giant’s new breast cancer drug could revolutionise treatment

Source: Bloomberg

Over the weekend, AstraZeneca PLC unveiled positive trial data for its new breast cancer drug, which suggests it could be a game-changer for patients.

Experts say the drug antibody-based drug Enhertu could change the way in which breast cancer is treated.

Results demonstrated that the product doubled the progression-free survival rates of patients with late-stage breast cancer compared with chemotherapy treatment. The product was jointly developed with Japanese company Daiichi Sankyo.

In the trial of 550 patients, the drug reduced the risk of the disease progressing by 50%. It works by targeting hormone sensitive tumours known as HER2-targetable.

"Today's results represent a pivotal moment demonstrating the potential for Enhertu to redefine the treatment of HER2-targetable cancers,” said Susan Galbraith, executive vice president, Oncology R&D, at AstraZeneca.

“[The trial] validates targeting the lower end of the spectrum of HER2 expression, since Enhertu reduced the risk of disease progression or death across all types of patients in the trial by half and reduced the risk of death by over a third.

"We must now evolve the way we classify and treat metastatic breast cancer to ensure these patients are effectively diagnosed and treated."

AstraZeneca drug could be a ‘multi-blockbuster’

Breast cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed form of the disease across the world, recently overtaking lung cancer. Over two million cases were diagnosed in 2020 and almost 685,000 people died of the disease, according to AstraZeneca.

According to AstraZeneca, sales of Enhertu, excluding the Japanese market, were $426 million in 2021. However, the company thinks the product could become a “multi-blockbuster” as it could also be approved to treat other types of cancer, which are hormone sensitive, including certain types of lung cancer.

"As far as breast cancer goes, I'd say at least in the next few years, I'm pretty sure Enhertu is going to kind of finish revolutionising the treatment paradigm," Tara Hansen, a consultant at Informa Pharma Custom Intelligence, told Reuters.

Analysts at Jefferies expect peak global sales of $2.5 billion in breast cancer patients and a total of around $6.6 billion of peak sales in all cancer treatment indications.

Could AstraZeneca shares have further to run?

Shares in the drug giant dipped 2.89% to £101.44p on Monday – likely on profit-taking as the stock has performed strongly over the past few years. The drug giant has also benefited from strong sales of its Covid vaccine, although at the recent results management said that this fillip was set to wane.

The shares have risen 24% since last December and are trading near their five-year highs. However, there could be further mileage in them. Broker Berenberg recently set a price target of £120 for them and trading is expected to be strong this year, despite the waning of the Covid vaccine fillip. Investors can be forgiven for taking some profits, nevertheless.

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*Based on revenue excluding FX (published financial statements, June 2021)

This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.

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