The drug: Recentin
The disease: Colon cancer
The company: AstraZeneca
There's been a bad case of late-stage blues going around AstraZeneca this year. Back in May the pharma company was forced to scuttle plans to file Recentin for colon cancer after it failed two consecutive Phase III studies. While Horizon II data indicated that the drug plus chemo helped hold back disease progression, there was no improvement in the overall survival rate--a key failure.
Recentin had already flunked a head-to-head study with Avastin for colon cancer, an expensive wager for a company looking to grab market share right out of the marketing gate. When hope was still alive for the drug, Thomson Reuters had estimated potential 2014 sales at $400 million. That's not a blockbuster, but it would have been a lot better than being forced to write off all your development costs.
For AstraZeneca, the bad news about Recentin triggered a fresh burst of skepticism about its ability to deliver a big new drug. Every fresh Phase III disaster stirs up the same dust for an industry in bad need of fresh development successes.