UPDATE 2-AstraZeneca’s Recentin flunks colon cancer tests

* Astra won’t submit drug for first-line colorectal cancer
* Horizon II study shows no improvement in overall survival

* Follows earlier failed trial comparing Recentin to Avastin
* AstraZeneca shares up 0.8 percent

(Adds comment from spokeswoman, shares, sales forecast)

By Ben Hirschler

LONDON, May 28 (BestGrowthStock) – AstraZeneca (AZN.L: ) dropped plans
to file experimental cancer drug Recentin as a first-line
treatment for colon cancer on Friday after disappointing results
from a second pivotal clinical trial with the medicine.

Many investors had been sceptical about the drug’s prospects
in this area after it failed in the previous study.

The latest Phase III clinical trial, known as Horizon II,
showed that while Recentin combined with chemotherapy helped
patients live longer without their disease progressing, there
was no improvement in overall survival compared with
chemotherapy alone.

The drug, also known as cediranib, had already flunked
another study comparing it head-to-head with Roche’s (ROG.VX: )
blockbuster Avastin in March.

“Looking at the results from both these trials, we felt they
were not strong enough to justify moving forward in this area,
given other treatment options available,” said company
spokeswoman Abigail Baron.

The decision, while not a huge surprise, will likely prompt
some analysts to revise their numbers. The consensus had been
that Recentin sales would reach around $400 million by 2014,
according to Thomson Reuters data.

The setback underlines the problems facing AstraZeneca as it
tries to refill its pipeline ahead of loss of patent protection
on some of its biggest-selling products, including acid reflux
treatment Nexium and Seroquel for schizophrenia.

The group is also due to hear by July whether or not a U.S.
judge will uphold its patent on cholesterol fighter Crestor.

AstraZeneca shares were up 0.77 percent at 0731 GMT,
slightly outperforming a 0.5 percent advance in the European
healthcare sector (.SXDP: ).

Despite its failure in first-line colon cancer, Recentin may
still have a role in different cancer types.

Results of a Phase III study evaluating it in treating
recurrent glioblastoma, a brain cancer, are expected soon and
AstraZeneca is also examining whether it may have applications
in a number of other tumour types, including lung cancer.

Investment

(Editing by Dan Lalor, Mike Nesbit)

UPDATE 2-AstraZeneca’s Recentin flunks colon cancer tests