(Reuters) – British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc on Tuesday said its cancer medicine Lynparza was approved as a first-line maintenance treatment for a type of advanced ovarian cancer by the European Commission, following a panel’s consent in April.

Lynparza, being jointly developed by AstraZeneca along with U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co, can now be used in patients who are in response following chemotherapy for advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer in Europe, AstraZeneca said.

BRCA genes are responsible for producing proteins which repair damaged DNA, and if the genes are mutated, they can cause cancer growth.

Lynparza belongs to a class of drugs known as PARP inhibitors which keep cancer cells damaged by chemotherapy from repairing themselves. It became the first PARP drug to reach the market with a U.S. approval for ovarian cancer in late 2014.

AstraZeneca has been pushing to build its cancer drug portfolio and Lynparza is an important growth driver for the drugmaker, with analysts pegging the drug to hit $2.5 billion in sales in 2023, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

Lynparza also helped patients with advanced pancreatic cancer who carry BRCA gene mutations go nearly twice as long without their disease worsening, late-stage clinical trial data from earlier this month showed.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)