By Maggie Fick and Ludwig Burger

(Reuters) – AstraZeneca said on Monday an experimental precision drug slowed the progression of lung cancer in a late-stage trial, but its shares fell nearly 5% as analysts said the benefits might not be as pronounced as Was expected.

The drug, datopotamab deruxtecan, which is being co-developed with Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo, was shown to prolong progression-free survival compared with standard chemotherapy in patients whose non-small cell lung cancer had come back after one or two attempts prior treatment, AstraZeneca said.

The British drugmaker also said there were “some” cases of Grade 5 interstitial lung disease (ILD). Jefferies analysts said Grade 5 events refer to fatal cases.

AstraZeneca shares were down 4.7% at 0817 GMT.

The drug belongs to a class known as antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), which consist of tumor-seeking monoclonal antibodies that are combined with a cell-killing payload of chemotherapy.

AstraZeneca said the trial would continue as planned to assess the effect of the drug on overall survival of patients, another important efficacy criterion.

Barclays said in an analyst note that the trial was successful, but until more data is available, some investors and analysts will be concerned that the treatment does not have the potential to become a first-line treatment after diagnosis.

“We think it is certainly too early to cancel Dato-DXd and we like AZN for a number of reasons, so we would view any negative reaction today as a buying opportunity,” the note said.

(Reporting by Maggie Fick in London, Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt and Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Lucy Raitano in London; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Susan Fenton)

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