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AstraZeneca names AZD2171 cancer treatment Recentin

UK pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca (AZ), has announced Recentin as the global trademark for AZD2171.

UK pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca (AZ), has announced Recentin as the global trademark for AZD2171, its oral selective vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signalling inhibitor.

VEGF is a key driver of angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels. By inhibiting VEGF receptors, AZD2171 hinders angiogenesis to cut off the blood supply to tumours, thus slowing spread and growth.

There are three VEGF receptors involved in tumour angiogenesis, VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3. AZ's AZD2171 inhibits all three, particularly VEGFR-2, which is the predominant receptor through which VEGF exerts its effects on angiogenesis.

AZD2171 is now in phase II/III development for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and advanced colorectal cancer (CRC), as well as other signal search programmes for other tumours.

For the lung cancer indication, the phase II/III BR-24 study is being coordinated by the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC) and is comparing the efficacy of AZD2171 plus 'doublet' chemotherapy (paclitaxel and carboplatin) with 'doublet' chemotherapy alone in patients with advanced NSCLC.

For the colorectal cancer indication, the Horizon III is an ongoing phase II/III randomised, double-blind, international multi-centre investigation of AZD2171 in combination with Folfox (fluorouracil and oxaliplatin), compared with Avastin (bevacizumab) in combination with Folfox, in patients with previously untreated metastatic colorectal cancer. Horizon II is a randomised, double-blind phase III study, which will compare AZD2171 plus standard chemotherapy with standard chemotherapy alone in patients with first line advanced colorectal cancer. Horizon I, a phase II study, will evaluate AZD2171 in combination with Folfox, compared with bevacizumab in combination with Folfox, in the second-line treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

Dr Nick Botwood, Global Medical Director for AZD2171, said: "Pre-clinical data shows this compound is a potent suppressor of angiogenesis, an established approach in anti-cancer treatment. More importantly, early clinical trial data have also shown encouraging anti-tumour activity with AZD2171 and a side-effect profile that appears to be predictable and manageable. The ongoing trial programme will be important to establish how the compound may add to the treatment options currently available to patients."

A Decision Resources 2005 report said that the market for VEGF inhibitors for the treatment of cancers will grow from USD 550 million in 2004 to almost USD 5.3 billion in 2009. Growth in the market, according to the report, will be fuelled by increases in sales of the only currently available cancer drug in this class, Genentech/Roche's Avastin, as well as the introduction of small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors of the VEGF receptors.

10th January 2007

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