This new $3 billion pill could obliterate cancer

This new $3 billion pill could obliterate cancer

AstraZeneca has just scored early approval of its lung cancer-battling drug Tagrisso.

AstraZeneca has just won approval for a pill that could attack lung cancer and may be worth a whopping $3 billion to the company.

The drug, called Tagrisso or AZD9291, is one of a few cancer medicines that AstraZeneca is banking on to resurrect its cells, and Tagrisso may be the big one, with forecasts suggesting it could pull in $3 billion per year at some point, according to a Reuters report.

U.S. regulators gave it early approval on Friday, a major step toward marketing the drug to the public.

Analysts weren’t quite as optimistic about the drug as AstraZeneca, with Thomson Reuters Cortellis reaching a consensus of $1.1 billion in revenue in 2020, according to the report.

The Food and Drug Administration signed off on the pill, which is meant to be taken once daily to treat non-small cell lung cancer. It is geared toward patients who have seen the disease worsen after other therapies have been tried.

Analysts had expected a decision in February 2016, so this approval came as a bit of a surprise to the industry.

Tagrisso works by targeting a genetic mutation called T790M, which enables tumors to defend themselves against other treatments used against lung cancer. If it works as intended, it could help the body defeat these tumors with current treatments.

AstraZeneca shares jumped 0.5 percent on the news.

Clinical trials were remarkably successful, with 57 of 61 patients seeing complete or partial reduction in tumor size. The most common side effects were diarrhea and problems with the skin and fingernails.

AstraZeneca hopes to have six new cancer treatments by 2020.

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