AstraZeneca AZD9291 & Clovis CO-1686 race to market in NSCLC

The pharma competitive landscape is a dynamic one, which is good news for marketing strategy consultants – there’s always the need for an update on competitor activity and insights into how new clinical data may impact the market opportunity for cancer new products.

A modern David versus Goliath story in cancer drug development is unfolding as Clovis Oncology race to market against AstraZeneca; both companies have drugs in early clinical development that appear effective against T790M mutated lung cancer, for which there is currently no approved treatment.

We’ve been following the story from ASCO last year where Clovis presented a poster showing initial responses with CO-1686 to ECCO in Amsterdam where AstraZeneca gave an oral presentation on initial data on their phase 1 trial of AZD9291.

The story continued around the globe at AACR-NCI-EORTC Molecular Targets meeting in Boston then the World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Sydney.

There were more insights on CO-1686 and AZD9291 at the recent JP Morgan Healthcare conference in San Francisco.

Despite the jump in Clovis’s share price, we think that AstraZeneca is still ahead, largely due to the fact that Clovis have had to reformulate CO-1686 and only had data for 3 patients with the new formulation at the World Lung meeting in Sydney.

We think Clovis have some catching up to do and need to present more data on its safety and efficacy. This is expected at the European Lung Cancer Conference in Geneva later this quarter.

AstraZeneca, meanwhile, will be presenting the results of their phase 1/2 trial at the ASCO annual meeting.  We would be surprised if this wasn’t an oral presentation, given the impressive initial data seen so far.

What’s more, by then the company will have patients who have been on drug for over a year, so we will have some sense of the durability of response. This is critical.

Cancer drug development is not conducted in isolation, and having an accurate picture of the competitive landscape is key if you want to create an effective positioning and messaging strategy.

We’ll be following the data on CO-1686 and AZD9291 and European Lung and ASCO.

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