Good news for a new AstraZeneca drug

There is good news surfacing for pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca this morning. Turns out a new drug produced by AZN helps reduce heart patients' chances of dying by more than 20% when compared to the standard treatment. The drug is designed to prevent blood clots in heart patients.

The study followed 18,624 patients from 2006 to 2008, with roughly half taking rival medicine Plavix and the other half taking AZN's Brilinta. The results show that patients taking Brilinta had a 4.5% chance of dying, compared to a 5.9% chance for patients on Plavix.

The results also showed that AZN's offering was safer for patients, as it was less likely to trigger bleeding problems, which is one of Plavix's side effects. Yes, Brilinta has its own side effects, including breathing and heart-rhythm abnormalities, but some will be willing to take these chances based on the drug's efficacy. Some experts believe Brilinta will be a best-selling drug if it receives regulatory approval, which could take "years".

One fact that could skew the results a bit is that AZN paid for the research, but this is a common practice in the pharmaceutical world.

Currently, the stock is treading along support in the $46 region as it waits for its 10-week moving average to come into the picture and push the stock higher. The question is whether or not the shares will be able to garner enough momentum to top past resistance in the $49-50 region. The stock has turned away from this region three other times in the past, and it could do so again. Will the news about Brilinta be enough to help puncture this resistance? I'm not sure, but history certainly suggests that it won't happen.

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