As­traZeneca chal­lenges Roche on front­line SCLC af­ter seiz­ing an in­ter­im win — and Mer­ck may not be far be­hind

The crowd­ed play­ing field in the PD-1/L1 mar­ket­ing game is about to get a lit­tle more com­plex.

This morn­ing As­traZeneca re­port­ed that its CASPI­AN study de­liv­ered a hit in an in­ter­im read­out for their PD-L1 Imfinzi com­bined with etopo­side and plat­inum-based chemother­a­py op­tions for front­line cas­es of small cell lung can­cer, a tough tar­get which has al­ready knocked back Bris­tol-My­ers’ shot in sec­ond-line cas­es. The pos­i­tive da­ta  — which we won’t see be­fore they roll it out at an up­com­ing sci­en­tif­ic con­fer­ence — give As­traZeneca ex­cel­lent odds of a quick vault to chal­leng­ing Roche’s Tecen­triq-chemo com­bo, ap­proved 3 months ago for front­line SCLC in a land­mark ad­vance.

“This is the first tri­al of­fer­ing the flex­i­bil­i­ty of com­bin­ing im­munother­a­py with dif­fer­ent plat­inum-based reg­i­mens in small cell lung can­cer, ex­pand­ing treat­ment op­tions,” not­ed As­traZeneca can­cer R&D chief José Basel­ga in a state­ment.

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