FDA approves immune-boosting drug for advanced bladder cancer

WASHINGTON — U.S. regulators have approved a new drug that harnesses the immune system to treat advanced bladder cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved Imfinzi along with a companion diagnostic test for identifying which patients are most likely to benefit from it.

Imfinzi, also known as durvalumab, is part of a new generation of drugs which stimulate the immune system to help fight cancer.

AstraZeneca, Imfinzi’s developer, says the average monthly list price for the drug is roughly $15,000, but varies with the patient’s weight. It’s given by IV every two weeks.

Bladder cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer in the U.S., and is usually fatal when it recurs.

AstraZeneca is testing the drug against numerous cancers.