AstraZeneca (AZN) shares edged higher Tuesday as investors shrugged off a mixed set of phase-3 results for the Anglo Swedish drug maker's Bydureon Exscel type II diabetes treatment.
The drug maker said that patients taking Bydureon Exscel saw a reduction in cardiovascular risk during the trial but that this was not statistically significant.
Reduced cardiovascular risk means that Bydureon Exscel has met its primary safety objective under Food & Drug Administration rules, which dictate that type II diabetes treatments must not increase cardiovascular risk. However, the drug did not meet its efficacy objective, which was to demonstrate a superior reduction in major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE).
AstraZeneca stock traded around 0.44% higher Tuesday, to change hands at 5,147 pence each by 09:15 BST against a broader 0.27% gain for the benchmark FTSE 100. The Stoxx Europe TMI Pharmaceuticals index was down 0.30% in early trading.
"These top-line results from the EXSCEL trial provide robust evidence of the cardiovascular safety profile of Bydureon across a wide range of patients with type-2 diabetes," said Elisabeth Bjork, vice president of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
Tuesday's statement comes closely on the heels of Astra having won accelerated approval for its Imfinzi (Durvalumab) bladder cancer treatment, an important part of the group's oncology portfolio, which is itself expected to be a cornerstone of Astrazeneca's top line in future years.
The drug maker has been testing durvalumab as a monotherapy and as a combination treatment, with tremelimumab, under its Mystic program.
"As a reminder the AstraZeneca turnaround story largely hinges on what happens to its oncology portfolio," said Alistair Campbell, an analyst at Berenberg, in April.
AstraZeneca has bet the house on oncology in recent years as part of an attempt to move past a series of patent expirations that have been a key source of concern for investors.