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AstraZeneca’s oncology drug star Tagrisso gets a new approval for frontline lung cancer in Japan

One of the few bright spots at AstraZeneca $AZN over the last few years has been its steady build-up of the global market for its cancer drug Tagrisso. And today the company noted one more forward step on that front, with an approval in Japan for frontline cases involving inoperable or recurrent EGFR mutation-positive non-small cell lung cancer.

Dave Fredrickson

“Tagrisso is already approved in Japan for the treatment of patients with EGFR T790M mutation-positive inoperable or recurrent NSCLC that is resistant to existing 1st-line EGFR-inhibitor medicines,” noted Dave Fredrickson, the head of the oncology business unit. “Today’s approval moves the use of Tagrisso to the 1st-line setting, replacing older medicines which, given the high prevalence of the EGFR mutation in Japan, offers an important new treatment option for these patients.”

That’s important to AstraZeneca’s future.

Tagrisso brought in $422 million in the second quarter, a big jump over the same period a year ago, providing a key growth driver for the pharma giant that it desperately needs as generics devour its Crestor franchise. With the help of Lynparza and now Imfinzi, CEO Pascal Soriot has been able to grow their oncology portfolio while seeing some marked increases in revenue out of Asia. 


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