AstraZeneca’s (AZN) key products on the market for lung cancer are Tagrisso, Imfinzi, and Iressa. Tagrisso, approved in more than 75 countries, registered an increase in sales of 98.0% to $338.0 million, driven by higher testing rates in Japan and the US.
Tagrisso’s US sales grew 63.0% to $147.0 million in the first quarter on the back of higher EGFR T790M mutation testing rates. Sequentially, this was an increase of 15.0% from sales of $128.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Notably, Tagrisso was included for use as a first-line treatment of patients with metastatic EGFR mutated NSCLC by the US National Comprehensive Cancer Network (or NCCN) in September 2017. Further, the drug was approved for this indication in April.
Emerging market performance
In emerging markets, growth in Tagrisso sales was driven by higher testing rates in China. It was approved in China in March 2017 and was the first medicine by AstraZeneca under China FDA’s priority review pathway. Tagrisso sales in emerging markets grew impressively from $6.0 million in 1Q 2017 to $71.0 million in the first quarter.
Driven by strong demand levels, higher testing rates, and positive reimbursement decisions, Tagrisso’s Europe sales increased 97.0% to $69.0 million in the first quarter. The drug is currently under reimbursement review in a number of European countries and is already reimbursed in more than 15 European markets. AstraZeneca is also expecting a regulatory decision on Tagrisso as a first-line treatment for EGFR mutated NSCLC in the second quarter.
Tagrisso’s performance in Japan was a mixed bag in the first quarter. Year-over-year (or YoY) the drug registered 26.0% growth to $49.0 million, and its sales decreased sequentially from $61.0 million in Q4 2017. This change was attributable to a decline in T790M ctDNA testing rates from 90.0% in Q4 2017 to 70.0% in the first quarter. AstraZeneca expects a regulatory decision on Tagrisso as a first-line treatment for EGFR mutated NSCLC in the second half of 2018.
In the next part of this series, we’ll take a look at the performance of Imfinzi, Iressa, and other oncology medicines.