AstraZeneca plc (LON:AZN) (LSE:AZN.L) has released results from its Phase III OLYMPIAD trial to the stock market today. Investors may be encouraged by the positive results when the company compared Lynparza tablets (300mg twice daily) to physician’s choice of a standard care of chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer harbouring germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.
Patients treated with Lynparza showed a statistically-significant and clinically-meaningful improvement in progression-free survival compared with those who received chemotherapy. According to AstraZeneca, the news is highly encouraging for the development of its broad portfolio, which is good news for the company’s investors.
AstraZeneca’s shares are marginally higher today, up 0.80% on the news. In the last six months, they have dropped 10%. This is a worse performance than shares in other healthcare stocks such as GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON:GSK) (LSE:GSK.L), Shire PLC (LON:SHP) (LSE:SHP.L), Smith & Nephew plc (LON:SN) (LSE:SN.L) and Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc (LON:HIK) (LSE:HIK.L). Shire’s shares are 5% lower, GlaxoSmithKline’s stock price is 3% down, Hikma’s shares are 9% lower and Smith & Nephew’s stock price has declined 9% in the last 12 months.
In my view, AstraZeneca has investment appeal in the long run. I think its pipeline of new drugs could have a big impact on its profitability over the next few years. I also feel the disappointment of patent losses and generic drugs taking away their sales will reduce and this could increase AstraZeneca’s investment appeal versus the likes of GlaxoSmithKline and Shire. Although Hikma and Smith & Nephew may have more stability for investors, I still think AstraZeneca could perform well on a relative basis.
It’s perhaps not a stock I’m looking to trade via CFD or spread betting accounts. But it is a stock I like for the long term and I feel today’s news is another step in the right direction for investors in AstraZeneca.