As­traZeneca of­fers some mixed PhI­II re­sults for se­vere asth­ma, while Roche ri­val floun­ders

As­traZeneca post­ed some mixed — though gen­er­al­ly pos­i­tive — da­ta from two big Phase III stud­ies of ben­ral­izum­ab, its IL-5 con­tender in the high­ly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket for se­vere asth­ma. A high place­bo re­sponse se­ri­ous­ly erod­ed one set of late-stage da­ta. But the ther­a­py ap­pears head­ed to an ap­proval — even as Roche was prac­ti­cal­ly giv­en the kiss of death for a ri­val late-stage drug.

As­traZeneca put ben­ral­izum­ab through two Phase III stud­ies that col­lec­tive­ly re­cruit­ed more than 2,500 pa­tients. In the first of those, the CAL­I­MA tri­al with 1,306 pa­tients, 30 mg of ben­ral­izum­ab in­ject­ed every 4 and 8 weeks was able to re­duce ex­ac­er­ba­tion by 28% to 36% com­pared to a place­bo. In the sec­ond study, SIROC­CO with 1,209 pa­tients, the ex­ac­er­ba­tion rate dropped by a more com­pet­i­tive 48% to 51%.

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