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AstraZeneca’s Calquence fails to improve survival rates in coronavirus patients

Published on 12/11/20 at 12:43pm
Photo by D Wells

AstraZeneca’s Calquence has failed to improve survival rates and prevent lung failure in patients hospitalised with COVID-19. 

Calquence (acalabrutinib) is categorised as a Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor which can suppress autoimmune disease. In the US, it has been approved to treat certain types of blood cancers including chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in adult patients. 

The company has said its mid-stage trial testing the treatment in COVID-19 patients was disappointing. Its goal was to assess if the drug can suppress certain elements of the immune system and if it can contain an immune response. 

José Baselga, the Executive Vice President of the company’s Oncology Division, said: “While the CALAVI results are disappointing, we remain committed to advancing science that helps patients during this unprecedented global pandemic, including clinical trials for the AstraZeneca Oxford coronavirus vaccine and our long-acting antibody combination.”

Back in July, The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency recommended the drug for marketing authorisation based on two Phase 3 clinical trials. Calquence combined with obinutuzumab reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 90% and 80%. 

Conor Kavanagh

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