The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended Olaparib for approval for women with ovarian cancer who have a BRCA mutation.

The recommendation for the drug, produced by AstraZeneca, follows a negative ruling by a US panel in June, which voted against the drug’s accelerated approval. It’s the first time a cancer drug will have been approved targeted at an inherited genetic fault

Olaparib blocks an enzyme involved in cell repair and is designed for patients with certain hereditary gene mutations. It also has promise in treating other cancers, opening up a substantial market opportunity.

Professor Alan Ashworth, whose work underpinned the development of olaparib, said: "The European Medicines Agency's recommendation that olaparib be approved for some patients with ovarian cancer marks an important moment in the development of targeted treatments for cancer.

“It is a great example of how collaboration can take scientific principles and turn them into treatments - showing how close interaction between researchers here at the ICR, a UK biotech and drug company, NHS hospitals and charitable funding bodies can improve the outlook for cancer patients worldwide.

"This ruling by the EMA marks the first time a cancer drug targeted at an inherited genetic fault will have been approved. It should be a significant step in expanding the treatment options available for patients with tumours caused by inherited BRCA mutations."