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AstraZeneca Stock Rises on Progress With Breast-Cancer Treatment

AstraZeneca's breast-cancer treatment reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 72% vs. a currently approved treatment.

Shares of AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Astrazeneca PLC Sponsored ADR Report rose in a sharply down market after the British drugmaker reported progress with a breast-cancer drug candidate.

Enhertu reduced disease progression or death by 72% vs. a currently approved treatment, the company said in a statement.

A Phase 3 trial showed that its antibody drug conjugate demonstrated "superior progression-free survival" in patients with breast cancer when compared with trastuzumab emtansine. That drug is currently approved to treat patients with HER2-positive unresectable and/or metastatic breast cancer.

A "high and consistent benefit" was "seen across efficacy endpoints and key subgroups of patients receiving Enhertu in [the Destiny-Breast03 trial]," the company said. 

The results "support the potential of Enhertu to become the new standard of care for those who have previously been treated for HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer," Javier Cortes, who heads the International Breast Cancer Center, said in the company statement. Cortes is principal investigator for the DB03 study,

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Shares of AstraZeneca at last check jumped 4.6% to $58.10 on a broadly lower day on the stock market. On July 12 the stock touched a 52-week high near $61.

Susan Galbraith, the company's oncology executive vice president, said the drug tripled progression-free survival with a disease control rate exceeding 95%. 

Early survival data showed nearly all patients treated with Enhertu were alive after a year, a positive indication of the treatment's potential. 

The safety profile of the most common adverse events from the treatment were consistent with the company's previous clinical trials.

The most common grade 3 or higher treatment event included neutropenia -- lower white blood cell count -- which occurred in nearly 20% of patients.