Chi-Med unit slated for $18M in milestones from Lilly

Eli Lilly ($LLY) is set to make an $18 million milestone payment to Hutchison MediPharma, majority owned by Hutchison China MediTech, or Chi-Med, in the second quarter of 2015 after a positive first proof-of-concept study result for fruquintinib, a candidate for treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer in China.

Chi-Med said in a May 13 release that full details of the study results will be published at a major medical meeting later this year.

"Pursuant to the licensing, co-development, and commercialization agreement entered into by HMP and Lilly in October 2013, HMP will receive a US$10 million mCRC POC milestone," the release said.

"In addition, HMP will receive a total of US$8 million in reimbursements for costs associated with the planning and launch of the FRESCO Phase III mCRC registration study in China, as well as for the establishment of related clinical supply production facilities in Suzhou, Jiangsu province in China."

In March, Chi-Med said it had met the primary endpoint of progression-free survival in a Phase II clinical trial for its metastatic colorectal cancer candidate fruquintinib (HMPL-013), putting it one step closer to China approval.

Hutchison MediPharma said at the time the secondary efficacy endpoints, including objective response rate, disease control rate and overall survival, are still being monitored.

The trial compared fruquintinib against a placebo in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

In December, the unit started a Phase III study of the small molecule that selectively inhibits the tyrosine kinase activity associated with VEGF receptors to treat metastatic colorectal cancer patients who have failed at least two prior therapies

The subsidiary also started a Phase Ib study of the compound in October 2014 to treat gastric cancer, and a Phase II study in June 2014 to treat non-small cell lung cancer.

In March, Chi-Med, based in Hong Kong, said it expects to file for its first drug approval next year for what it said would be the first modern drug from China since artemisinin was developed in the 1970s to treat malaria.

Chi-Med is majority owned by the multinational conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, run by Hong Kong's richest investor Li Ka-shing.

- here's the release from Hutchison Chi-Med (PDF)