US regulators have granted an orphan drug designation to AstraZeneca’s (LON:AZN) Fasenra for the treatment of eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA), the blue-chip group has reported. The news marks a boost for the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker which has bet on its pipeline of new drugs as it looks to return to growth.
AstraZeneca’s share price has been little changed in London this morning, having inched 0.05 percent lower to 6,187.84p as of 09:54 GMT. The stock is underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having jumped 1.27 percent to 7,041.13 points. The group’s shares have added just under a fifth to their value over the past year, as compared with a near five-percent drop in the Footsie.
FDA grants ODD to AstraZeneca’s Fasenra
AstraZeneca announced in a statement today that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had granted orphan drug designation to its Fasera drug for the treatment of EGPA, a rare autoimmune disease which can cause damage to multiple organs and tissues. The disease is characterised by inflammation of blood vessels and the presence of elevated levels of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell.
“EGPA is a rare, but debilitating inflammatory disease and patients with the disease typically have very high levels of eosinophils,” AstraZeneca’s chief medical officer Sean Bohen commented in the statement, adding that the group’s “clinical trials for Fasenra in severe, eosinophilic asthma show it depletes eosinophils and we are exploring the potential of this medicine to address unmet medical needs in other eosinophil-driven diseases”.
Analysts on Anglo-Swedish drugmaker
Kepler Capital Markets reaffirmed AstraZeneca as a ‘buy’ last week, valuing the shares at 6,100p, while earlier this month, JPMorgan Chase & Co reiterated its ‘overweight’ rating on the stock, without specifying a price target. According to MarketBeat, the blue-chip pharmco currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 5,927.44p.