Another Hopeful IL-12 Treatment Option Falls Short as AstraZeneca Refocuses Priorities

AstraZeneca made a major shift in priorities Thursday, announcing a sweeping cut to its pipeline of drugs in an effort to counterbalance its declining COVID-19 drug sales. In its Q4 pipeline update, the company revealed a significant reduction in its pipeline, signaling a new direction for the future.

AstraZeneca recently dropped its second interleukin-12 (IL-12) immunotherapy, MEDI9253, in the last three months, following the return of MEDI1191 rights to Moderna in November. This marks a significant shift in the direction of the company’s drug development efforts.

Recent trends show an increasing shift away from IL-12 therapies, as people look for more effective treatments. This development has stirred up considerable interest in the medical field, as researchers search for alternatives to traditional treatments.

In a surprising move, Merck KGaA kicked off 2021 with a major announcement – the sale of its IL-12 candidate, M9241, to PDS Biotech for $5 million. This was followed by Bristol-Myers Squibb’s decision to return the rights for its IL-12 immunotherapy program DF6002 to Dragonfly Therapeutics, reversing a 2020 deal that saw BMS pay Dragonfly $475 million upfront. These bold moves hint at bigger changes to come in the world of pharmaceuticals.

At an early-morning press conference, Dr. Susan Galbraith, executive vice president of oncology R&D at AstraZeneca, reassured attendees that the decision to cease development of a specific IL-12 therapy was not a reflection of a lack of faith in the therapeutic potential of IL-12 therapies in general, but rather a response to the candidate’s particular performance.

AstraZeneca recently announced the discontinuation of several therapies, including MEDI9253 for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, two oncology candidates and an experimental IL-33 antibody. This decision marks a significant setback in the company’s efforts to develop effective treatments for serious medical conditions.

Shifting Gears

After raking in a hefty $901 million in net profit in Q4, the British pharma has announced plans to shift its attention to its cancer, metabolic and rare disease drugs. This marks a new chapter in the company’s efforts to develop and produce treatments to tackle some of the most challenging medical conditions.

Pascal Soriot, CEO of the company, has declared that they are off to a strong start in the new year and are determined to achieve their ambitious 2025 growth targets, as well as set the bar even higher for the years beyond.

Over the next decade, our team is dedicated to bringing 15 new drugs and therapies to the market, revolutionizing the healthcare industry and offering life-changing treatments to patients. We are confident that these treatments will improve the lives of many and help us make a lasting impact on the world of medicine.

AstraZeneca recently sealed a lucrative deal with Cincor Pharma to the tune of potentially $1.8 billion, gaining the aldosterone synthase inhibitor candidate baxdrostat in the process. The pharmaceutical giant plans to study this promising candidate in combination with its already successful diabetes drug, Farxiga (dapagliflozin), sure to spur further growth in the industry.

Soriot is confident in the growth of the company’s China market, as the country’s easing of its stringent COVID-19-related lockdown policies has yielded a surge of new infections. With this new development, the potential for growth is greater than ever before.

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