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Max Nisen

AstraZeneca Shows the Peril of Going All-In

Its IO trial failure leaves it behind in a competitive market with few options.

When a failed drug trial moves the market caps of three different pharma companies by an aggregate $20 billion, you know it's important.

AstraZeneca PLC's big effort to gain ground in the red-hot market for immune-boosting cancer drugs -- a combination of its already approved Imfinzi and a second immune-oncology (IO) drug tremelimumab -- was revealed as a flop in treating lung cancer Thursday morning. This trial -- code-named "Mystic" -- was always something of a Hail Mary. But it was one Astra desperately needed to work.