AstraZeneca on the rise after ‘ground-breaking’ breast cancer trial results


AstraZeneca PLC (LSE:AZN) was on the rise late on Monday, advancing 4% to 8,360p on the back of “ground-breaking” results from a trial of its breast cancer drug Enhertu.

The phase III evaluation compared the AZ treatment’s performance against the standard of care for HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, involving 500 patients in Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and South America.

Around 75% of women showed no progression in their disease after 12 months compared to 34% of those treated with trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1), while progression-free survival was improved from 7.2 months to 25.1 months.

Just over 94% of all Enhertu patients were alive after 12 months, compared to 85.9% of T-DM1 patients.

“These unprecedented data represent a potential paradigm shift in the treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, and illustrate the potential for Enhertu to transform more patient lives in earlier treatment settings,” said Susan Galbraith, executive vice president at the Oncology R&D department.

1.50pm: Centrica edges higher as British Gas to take on People’s Energy customers

Centrica PLC (LSE:CNA) edged 4% higher to 52.94p at lunchtime after British Gas agreed to take on the customers of People’s Energy.

The supplier, which stopped trading last week, served 350,000 domestic customers and 500 business clients.

This switchover is part of Ofgem’s Supplier of Last Resort process, the energy group said.

12.10pm: Anglo American, Glencore and fellow big cap miners drop over China concerns

Anglo American PLC (LSE:AAL), Glencore PLC (LSE:GLEN), Antofagasta plc, Rio Tinto PLC (LSE:RIO) and BHP Group PLC (LSE:BHP) all suffered losses at noon as investors are concerned about a downturn in the Chinese economy.

Chinese property developer Evergrande seems to be teetering on the precipice, with many worried the wider economy in the Asian country could be also hit by a crisis.

Miners are particularly susceptible to the health of Chinese trading since it is the world’s largest consumer of many minerals and metals.

Anglo American was the worst faller in the FTSE 100 index, tumbling 9% to 2,354.75p, with Glencore and Antofagasta down 6% to 306.25p and 1,329.5p respectively.

Rio Tinto and BHP both shed 5% to 4,584.5p and 1,780.3p respectively.

11am: Arecor Therapeutics climbs after positive early-stage results for insulin candidate

Arecor Therapeutics PLC (AIM:AREC) climbed 19% to 294p in late morning after announcing that its ultra-concentrated, rapid-acting insulin formulation hit its primary goal in a phase I clinical trial.

AT278 was pitted against a product called NovoRapid in the early-stage evaluation, which assessed pharmacokinetics (the time taken for the drug to be absorbed and distributed), pharmacodynamics (the treatment’s effects) and safety.

The so-called ‘primary endpoint’ of the double-blind, randomised study, which involved 38 sufferers of type I diabetes, was ‘non-inferiority’ to the gold-standard treatment in lowering glucose.

The next step will be “further clinical investigation of the potential benefits of the ultra-rapid acting profile of AT278 to further optimise the positive results obtained in this first clinical study”.

9.55am: Prudential first of blue-chip fallers with Hong Kong fundraise plans

Prudential plc topped the FTSE 100 fallers in mid-morning, sliding 7% to 1,340.5p after confirming plans to raise HK$22.5bn (GBP2bn) through a listing of new shares on the Hong Kong stock market.

The insurer will sell 130.8mln new shares or about 5% of its total in issue through a combination of an institutional placing, an employee tranche and an offer of 6.5mln shares to local investors in Hong Kong.

Prudential is braving a choppy few weeks for shares in Hong Kong by going ahead with its fundraising at this time.

The Hang Seng index fell 3% overnight on concerns that property group Evergrande might be about to collapse with potential knock-on effects across banks in China, while political relations have soured with the West following the clampdown on protests against changes to democracy laws in Hong Kong.

Prudential said the fundraise would give it more flexibility over its finances and has earmarked a big chunk of the new money to redeem existing high-coupon debt.

In the small-cap world, N4 Pharma PLC (AIM:N4P) shed 5% to 8p after its interim operating loss nearly doubled to GBP970,628 due to higher research and development costs.

The pharma group, which is developing a delivery system for vaccines and cancer treatments, will continue with its existing strategy over the coming months.

Chief executive Nigel Theobald said the group remains “cautiously optimistic” ahead of commercialisation of the lead product.

8.45am: Igas Energy tops risers with SSE agreement

Igas Energy PLC topped the risers early on Monday, surging 16% to 22p on the back of a preliminary agreement with SSE PLC (LSE:SSE).

The pair will develop a district heating network in Stoke-on-Trent, working with the local council.

“Deep geothermal has the potential to become a world leading industry here in the UK, provide a stable transition away from oil and gas, and help meet the Government’s net zero ambitions by decarbonising heat on a mass scale. It would also create 1,000s of new jobs and generate tens of millions of pounds in new investment,” said Igas chief executive Stephen Bowler.

Elsewhere, Caerus Mineral Resources PLC (LSE:CMRS) advanced 7% to 24p after approving a wide-ranging dump assessment programme on its Kalavasos project in Cyprus, following positive assay results that returned significant copper and gold grades.

Representative samples have already been forwarded to Jubilee Metals Group PLC (AIM:JLP, FRA:JI5, JSE:JBL, OTC:JUBPF) for preliminary test work and larger bulk samples have, based on recent assay data, been collected for dispatch.

Work has also commenced to assess previously unexplored gossans found within the five licences that make up the Kalavasos project.


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