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AstraZeneca’s turnround efforts received a boost on Monday as US authorities approved the use of one of its key new lung cancer drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved Imfinzi for treating stage three lung cancer patients who have already received chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatment, and whose disease has not spread to other parts of the body.

The approval was based on positive results from AstraZeneca’s “Pacific” trial, which were published last year. Imfinzi is expected to play a key role in the Anglo-Swedish group’s efforts to reverse falling revenues from its older products. Disappointing results from an earlier trial wiped £10bn off the company’s market value in a single day last July.

Today’s approval, however, was based on positive results at an earlier stage in the disease’s progression. Dave Fredrickson, the head of AstraZeneca’s Oncology unit, said “the approval of Imfinzi in this earlier stage of non-small cell lung cancer is a truly meaningful milestone for patients who, until now, had no FDA-approved treatment options following chemoradiation therapy”.

AstraZeneca has already received approval to use the drug for patients with advanced bladder cancer, and it is being investigated for a number of other uses, including as a “first-line” treatment used before other therapies.

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