Lung cancer drug Tagrisso, from AstraZeneca, is designed to help cancer patients with certain genetic mutations that are very common in China. It is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. Tagrisso is the first drug approved by the China Food and Drug Administration through a fast track process.
AstraZeneca has a high sale target in the field of lung cancer, with a forecast rising to $2.8 billion for 2022 with Tagrisso as the main candidate. In comparison to the West, about 30 to 40 percent of Asian patients suffering from non-small cell lung cancer have epidermal growth factor receptor mutated tumors that respond to Tagrisso. This makes China the biggest market for the drug.
Tagrisso is currently being used as a second-line therapy drug, taken after administration of first-line drugs such as Tarceva (Roche) and Iressa (AstraZeneca). There is a high possibility that this drug would be shifted to the first-line drug regimen after a clinical trial this year.
Investors are focusing on conducting another clinical study for testing a combination of two drugs in the field of immunotherapy. Besides AstraZeneca, others in line for this opportunity are Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche.