Merck and AstraZeneca’s drug Lynparza for treating ovarian cancer has been approved by the U.S regulatory bodies for treating advanced pancreatic cancer. This will position the company as one of the leading drug maker in this niche category of cancer.
The British drug maker said that the U.S Food and Drug Administration has approved the drug for patients with BRCA gene mutations whose cancer has spread beyond pancreas and for the tumours that didn’t worsen after at least 16 weeks of chemotherapy. The drug has been licensed to be used as a first-line maintenance only.
Transfiguration in BRCA genes hinders the ability to repair DNA damage and are usually linked to ovarian and breast cancers but this can occur in other forms of cancer too. Lynparza is a sub category of drug PARP inhibitors. This drug helps to block the remaining DNA repair mechanism so that cancer cells fall short of replicating and the tumour fails to sustain itself. The drug stands alone as approved medicine to treat advanced pancreatic cancer for bio-marker-selected patients. It has been approved for breast and ovarian cancers and the latest approval take its potential up a notch as a PARP inhibitor.
Julie Fleshman, chief executive officer of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network said that the patients have been desperately waiting for a new therapy option to cure their devastating disease. Pancreatic cancer is fatal as most patients are diagnosed during their advanced stages. According to American Cancer Society, it has claimed lives of around 46,000 Americans in 2019.
Lynparza was the first marketed PARP drug for ovarian cancer that got approved by U.S in 2014. Other approved PARP inhibitors are Talzenna by Phizer, Rubraca by Clovis Oncology, and Zejula by GSK.
The drug maker has lined up numerous trials for various combination treatments across various gene pools. This is AstraZeneca’s second win after FDA had approved its Daiichi Sankyo’s drug that treat breast cancer, four months prior to the schedule.