- AstraZeneca said Tuesday its treatment for lower respiratory tract infection caused by the respiratory syncytial virus had received priority status from the European Medicines Agency. The treatment also received a similar designation in the US.

The PRIME (PRIority MEdicines) initiative offered proactive and enhanced support to developers of promising medicines to optimise development plans and accelerate evaluation so these medicines can reach patients faster.

This was the first EMA PRIME eligibility that AstraZeneca had received since the programme's initiation in 2016.

'We are excited to receive PRIME eligibility for MEDI8897, our next-generation monoclonal antibody targeting respiratory syncytial virus in infants. We will work closely with the European Medicines Agency to optimise our development plan and help us bring MEDI8897 to patients as quickly as possible,' said Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice-President, R&D BioPharmaceuticals.

In separate statement, Astrazeneca said its lower respiratory tract infection treatment, MEDI8897, had received a breakthrough therapy designation from the US Food and Drug Administration.

A breakthrough therapy designation was designed to expedite the development and regulatory review of medicines that were intended to treat a serious condition and that had shown encouraging early clinical results, the company said.

MEDI8897 was being developed in partnership with Sanofi Pasteur and received Fast Track designation from the US FDA in March 2015.

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