Durvalumab granted Breakthrough Therapy designation by US FDA for treatment of patients with PD-L1 positive urothelial bladder cancer

17 February 2016

AstraZeneca and MedImmune, its global biologics research and development arm, today announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy designation (BTD) for durvalumab (MEDI4736), an investigational human monoclonal antibody directed against programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1), for the treatment of patients with PD-L1 positive inoperable or metastatic urothelial bladder cancer whose tumour has progressed during or after one standard platinum-based regimen.

Robert Iannone, Senior Vice President, Head of Immuno-Oncology, Global Medicines Development at AstraZeneca said: “Metastatic bladder cancer is an area of enormous unmet medical need. We are encouraged by this Breakthrough Therapy designation. We look forward to working closely with the FDA to bring durvalumab to bladder cancer patients as soon as possible.”

The Breakthrough Therapy designation is designed to expedite the development of new drugs which are intended to treat a serious condition and which have shown encouraging early clinical results, which demonstrate substantial improvement on a clinically significant endpoint over available therapies or when there is significant unmet medical need.

The Breakthrough Therapy designation for durvalumab was granted by the FDA on the basis of early clinical data from a Phase I trial (Study 1108) in patients with advanced metastatic urothelial bladder cancer whose tumour has progressed during or after one standard platinum-based regimen. This represents the third Breakthrough Therapy designation AstraZeneca has received from the FDA for medicines in Oncology. This designation offers the opportunity for further collaboration with the FDA for the durvalumab development programme. Data from study 1108 have been submitted for presentation at a future medical meeting.

Durvalumab is also being tested in first-line bladder cancer as a monotherapy as well as in combination with tremelimumab as part of the DANUBE Phase III trial which achieved first patient in during the final quarter of 2015.


About bladder cancer

Urothelial bladder cancers arise from the epithelium of the bladder and are the 9th most common form of cancer worldwide. Based on the Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration, it is estimated that there were 400,000 incidents of bladder cancer and 173,000 deaths worldwide for the year 2013. Metastatic bladder cancer remains an area of great unmet medical need with 5-year overall survival rates of less than 15%.

About durvalumab (MEDI4736)

Durvalumab is an investigational human monoclonal antibody directed against programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1). PD-L1 can be expressed by tumours to evade detection by the immune system through binding to PD-1 on cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Durvalumab blocks the PD-L1 interaction with PD-1, countering the tumour's immune-evading tactics. Durvalumab is being developed, alongside other immunotherapies, to empower the patient's immune system and attack the cancer. Durvalumab is being investigated in an extensive clinical trial programme, as monotherapy or in combination with tremelimumab, in NSCLC, head and neck, bladder, gastric, pancreatic, HCC and blood cancers.

About AstraZeneca in Oncology

AstraZeneca has a deep-rooted heritage in Oncology and offers a quickly growing portfolio of new medicines that has the potential to transform patients’ lives and the Company’s future. With at least 6 new medicines to be launched between 2014 and 2020 and a broad pipeline of small molecules and biologics in development, we are committed to advance New Oncology as one of AstraZeneca’s six Growth Platforms focused on lung, ovarian, breast and blood cancers. In addition to our core capabilities, we actively pursue innovative partnerships and investments that accelerate the delivery of our strategy, as illustrated by our investment in Acerta Pharma in haematology.

By harnessing the power of four scientific platforms -- immuno-oncology, the genetic drivers of cancer and resistance, DNA damage repair and antibody drug conjugates -- and by championing the development of personalised combinations, AstraZeneca has the vision to redefine cancer treatment and one day eliminate cancer as a cause of death.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three main therapy areas - respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune disease (RIA), cardiovascular and metabolic disease (CVMD) and oncology – as well as in infection and neuroscience. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit: www.astrazeneca.com


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Key: RIA - Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity, CVMD - Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease,

ING - Infection, Neuroscience and Gastrointestinal


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