CHICAGO (The Street) -- It seems impossible to invest in, think about (or write on) Clovis Oncology (CLVS) without first considering the heated, multi-front competitive battle with AstraZeneca (AZN). This weekend's ASCO annual meeting was no different.
Clovis' rucaparib made a strong claim Saturday to unseat AstraZeneca's Lynparza as the most effective PARP inhibitor treatment for a genetically defined segment of previously-treated ovarian cancer patients.
But AstraZeneca fought back Sunday when a highly anticipated presentation of Clovis' lung cancer drug rociletinib produced mediocre results. AstraZeneca's lung cancer drug AZD9291 appears superior.
Clovis shares closed Friday at $92.44, but the stock could fall Monday given lung cancer data at ASCO acknowledged as "disappointing" by one one sell-side analyst with a history of being very bullish about the company.
In a mid-stage study of patients with advanced ovarian cancer carrying the mutated BRCA gene, treatment with Clovis' rucaparib yielded a response rate of 82%. Ten percent of patients had complete resolution of their tumors. Median progression-free survival was 9.4 months.
Another 45% of ovarian cancer patients with "BRCA-like" mutations responded to rucaparib. Median progression-free survival in these patients was 7.1 months.
Mid-stage studies of rucaparib are still ongoing, but Clovis set plans to seek regulatory approval for rucaparib next year. The company estimates 25% of ovarian cancer patients carry the BRCA mutation, with another 35% of patients carrying "BRCA like" mutations also amenable to treatment with rucaparib.