Hong Kong-based Hutchison China Meditech--or Chi-Med--has notched up a $10 million milestone payment from AstraZeneca ($AZN) for candidate AZD6094 (savolitinib), a c-MET inhibitor, on the expansion of a Phase II trial on non-small cell lung cancer after initial results involving combinations with Tagrisso (osimertinib) or Iressa (gefitinib).
The trial expansion builds on a 2011, $140 million deal in which AstraZeneca partnered on the Chi-Med drug candidate that included a $20 million upfront payment with a focus on China.
The combination with Tagrisso will capture attention on the China and wider Asia screens as AstraZeneca in May won approval in Japan for Tagrisso, a first-in-class NSCLC drug that represents a potential major change in treatment options in the country and brings on a comparison with the state-of-play on therapies available in China.
The initial Phase II small study paved the way for the expansion, Chi-Med said in a release--noting the scope is aimed at advanced NSCLC patients who have developed resistance to approved EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
"This expansion was initiated following encouraging early data from a number of patients enrolled in the TATTON study who received savolitinib in combination with Tagrisso," according to the release.
"We estimate that the annual incidence of patients with MET-driven NSCLC in the U.S., European Union and Japan totals about 40,000-50,000 in all treatment settings," said Christian Hogg, CEO of Chi-Med, said.
"This is an important unmet medical need and one that we believe savolitinib is well suited to address because of its very high selectivity. This allows for effective target coverage of c-Met, as well as safe and tolerable combinations with other oncology agents. We believe that savolitinib either as a monotherapy in first-line NSCLC, or in proprietary combinations with AstraZeneca's Iressa and Tagrisso in second- and third-line NSCLC, will address the key genetic drivers of cancer cell proliferation in these very difficult-to-treat NSCLC patients. We are hopeful about proceeding into Phase III in 2017 based on future data from this study."
The candidate is also under efficacy testing in in kidney, gastric and colorectal cancers.
- here's the release
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