(Reuters) – Drugmakers AstraZeneca Plc and Merck & Co Inc said on Monday their blockbluster cancer drug, Lynparza, has received positive recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as a maintenance treatment for a form of pancreatic cancer.

The recommendation from the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) was based on positive results from a late-stage trial, where Lynparza nearly doubled the time patients with gBRCAm metastatic pancreatic cancer lived without the disease getting worse.

Lynparza leads a class of drugs known as PARP inhibitors, which keep cancer cells damaged by chemotherapy from repairing themselves, and is a key asset for AstraZeneca with approvals in ovarian, breast and pancreatic cancers.

Pancreatic cancer, which is detected usually in advanced stages, is expected to claim about 47,050 lives in the United States this year, according to the American Cancer Society.

While final approvals are up to the European Commission, it generally follows the CHMP’s recommendation and endorses them within a couple of months.

(Reporting by Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)