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AZ's Recentin trial disappoints

AstraZeneca's colorectal cancer drug, Recentin (cediranib), has failed to match Roche's Avastin (bevacizumab) in a phase II/III comparison study

AstraZeneca (AZ) has announced that its colorectal cancer drug, Recentin (cediranib), has failed to match Roche's Avastin (bevacizumab) in a phase II/III study comparing the two.

The double-blind, randomised HORIZON III study evaluated the efficacy of the two drugs, both in combination with chemotherapy. The results showed that although clinical activity was observed with Recentin, which acts on blood and lymphatic vessels to inhibit growth and spread of the tumour, its efficacy did not meet the pre-specified criteria for the primary endpoint in progression-free survival when compared with Avastin. 

AZ have a second study involving Recentin currently ongoing. This trial, known as HORIZON II, will assess the efficacy of Recentin combined with chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone, with results expected to be announced in the coming months. The company will submit data from both studies to a forthcoming medical meeting in the second half of 2010.

Alan Barge, vice president and head of oncology at AZ acknowledged the difficulty in trying to compete with what was Roche's biggest selling medicine of 2009: "While we recognised that challenging Avastin would be a high hurdle, it is still disappointing, despite evidence of clinical activity with Recentin, not to have met the primary endpoint in this study. The results of the second pivotal study in the coming months will provide further information on whether Recentin may provide benefit for patients with colorectal cancer and will inform any decision about possible regulatory filings."

Despite the disappointing result, AZ has re-confirmed its financial forecast for the next four years which was provided with the company's Q4 and full year results for 2009 in January.

Recentin remains in ongoing exploratory evaluations for other tumours, with results of a phase III study involving the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma expected in the first half of 2010.

8th March 2010

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