AZ's Recentin flunks head-to-head trial with Avastin

AstraZeneca says that its experimental oncology drug Recentin flunked a late-stage, head-to-head showdown with Avastin as a treatment for colon cancer. But the European drug company says that it will wait until it sees late-stage results as a combo therapy with chemo--versus chemotherapy alone--before it makes a final decision on the future of the program.

According to researchers, Recentin failed to demonstrate that it wasn't inferior to Avastin in keeping patients alive without disease progression. Now they want to see the data comparing Recentin and chemotherapy against chemo alone before it decides whether it will push ahead with a marketing application. But the program is clearly in deep trouble, given that researchers had to halt a trial two years ago after seeing an elevated risk of side effects compared to lung cancer patients receiving chemo alone.

"It is disappointing, but not unexpected given the failure of an earlier trial," wrote Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc analyst Michael Leacock. "We had in 50 percent success probability and a sales figure of $192 million in 2014, so it's not important in relation to the $28 billion of sales we forecast in 2014."

"While we recognized that challenging Avastin would be a high hurdle, it is still disappointing," noted Alan Barge, head of oncology at AstraZeneca.

- read the story from Bloomberg
- here's the Reuters story