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AstraZeneca-Merck's Lynparza wins EU approval for pancreatic cancer

FILE PHOTO: The company logo for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is displayed on a screen on the floor at the NYSE in New York

(Reuters) - AstraZeneca Plc and Merck & Co Inc said on Wednesday their blockbuster cancer treatment Lynparza won approval in the European Union for treating patients with a form of pancreatic cancer.

The approval was based on results from a late-stage trial in which Lynparza nearly doubled the lifespan of patients without disease progression or death when compared with placebo.

Lynparza, which can now be used to treat patients with a form of BRCA-mutated metastatic pancreatic cancer, leads a class of drugs known as PARP inhibitors that stop cancer cells from repairing themselves after being damaged by chemotherapy.

The approval comes more than a month after the drug received positive recommendation from the European Medicines Agency for the same indication.

Lynparza became the first marketed PARP drug with a U.S. approval for ovarian cancer in 2014 and is key to AstraZeneca's push in oncology and sustaining the company's turnaround.

In 2018, about 460,000 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a rare, life-threatening disease with the lowest survival rate among patients with most common cancers, the company said.

(Reporting by Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)