AstraZeneca and MSD’s (Merck (MRK) is known as MSD outside the US and Canada) Lynparza (olaparib) has been approved in Japan for the treatment of three types of advanced cancers: ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers.
The concurrent approvals by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare are based on positive results from the PAOLA-1, PROfound and POLO Phase III trials.
AstraZeneca (AZN) disclosed that the three approvals authorize Lynparza for “maintenance treatment after 1st-line chemotherapy containing bevacizumab (genetical recombination) for patients with homologous recombination repair deficient (HRD) ovarian cancer; the treatment of patients with BRCA gene-mutated (BRCAm) castrate-resistant prostate cancer with distant metastasis (mCRPC); and as maintenance treatment after platinum-based chemotherapy for patients with BRCAm curatively unresectable pancreas cancer.”
Lynparza is being jointly developed and commercialized by AstraZeneca and MSD and has been used to treat over 40,000 patients globally. It has the broadest and most advanced clinical trial development program of any PARP (poly ADP ribose polymerase) inhibitor, as per the company.
AstraZeneca and MSD are working together to understand how Lynparza may affect multiple PARP-dependent tumors as a monotherapy and in combination across multiple cancer types.
Earlier this month, AstraZeneca announced its decision to acquire US drugmaker Alexion Pharmaceuticals in a cash and stock deal worth $39 billion. The company believes that the deal will help in expanding its presence in the rare disease and immunology drug market.
On Nov. 30, Cowen & Co. analyst Steve Scala reiterated a Buy rating and a $66 price target on AstraZeneca and called the company a “Best Pharma Idea for 2021.” In a research note to investors, the analyst stated, “AZN has more important news events in 2021 than most other pharma stocks. This includes: Enhertu Ph III data in HER2-low BC, Farxiga Ph III data in HFpEF, Lynparza Ph III data in adjuvant BC, anifrolumab, roxadustat and COVID-19 vaccine approvals/rollouts, tezepelumab full Ph III data/filings in severe asthma, and Tagrisso approval in adjuvant NSCLC, among others.”
Overall, AstraZeneca scores a Strong Buy analyst consensus based on 5 Buys versus 1 Hold. The average price target of $67.50 indicates an upside potential of 39.1% in the months ahead.
Shares have declined 2.8% year-to-date.