AstraZeneca has got good results in the clinical trial for its next-generation asthma medication and could be available to patients by the end of next year. The drug, Benralizumab, is a new biological treatment for people with severe asthma, and works by targeting eosinophils that cause inflammation in the lungs of some patients with severe, uncontrolled asthma.

Benralizumab is Astra’s first biologic respiratory medication to pass Phase III trials, with the company hoping to file with US regulators before the end of this year.

However, Benralizumab does not have first-mover advantage as GlaxoSmithKline and Teva Pharmaceuticals already have two eosinophil-targeting asthma drugs on the market, Nucala and Cinquil, launched in the past year. Nevertheless, Nucala and Cinquil target the hormone that contributes to eosinophil production, whereas Benralizumab targets the actual white blood cell by binding to its receptor and blocking it.

AstraZeneca also has plans for further clinical trials with benralizumab, including one to see whether patients who take it can be weaned off oral steroids. The drug will also be tested in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) over the next two years.