(January 1, 2012) In a surprise announcement, AstraZeneca put out a press release in late December announcing the cancellation Phase 3 development for olaparib. The official reason given for abandoning development was as follows:
“The decision to discontinue olaparib’s development in serous ovarian cancer was made following a review of an interim analysis of a Phase II study (study 19) which indicated that the previously reported progression free survival benefit is unlikely to translate into an overall survival benefit, the definitive measure of patient benefit in ovarian cancer. In addition, attempts to identify a suitable tablet dose for use in Phase III studies have not been successful. No new safety concerns were identified for patients.”
Olaparib was an oral PARP inhibitor that was being praised for its ability to help inhibit the repair of cancer cells in advanced ovarian cancer patients.
The announcement came despite a recently published study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology Website which found that olaparib, a PARP Inhibitor, has an effect during the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer.
The official conclusion of the study was:
“The efficacy of olaparib was consistent with previous studies. However, the efficacy of PLD was greater than expected. Olaparib 400 mg twice per day is a suitable dose to explore in further studies in this patient population.”
In response to the news of the discontinued development of Olaparib, Barclays of London told investors, “AstraZeneca seems to have had more than its fair share of misfortune when it comes to the development pipeline.”
It’s not only a setback to AstraZeneca, but also to the promise it had brought to those suffering from ovarian cancer.