HK-based Hutchison MediPharma starts U.S. PhI for sulfatinib

Hong Kong-based Hutchison MediPharma (HMP) has started a U.S. Phase I clinical trial of sulfatinib, or HMPL-012, a candidate it holds all rights for and which is on track for a Phase III trial in China to treat neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) and a Phase Ib study to treat thyroid cancer before the end of this year.

A U.S. Phase II study in NETs is expected after the Phase I dose-escalation study for patients with solid tumors, the company said in a release.

HMPL-012 and HMPL-013 are two angiogenesis-inhibiting oncology drugs in development by the company, which is majority-owned by Hutchison China MediTech, or Chi-Med.

"In a Phase I clinical trial in China focusing on NET patients, sulfatinib's objective response rate among the 18 efficacy-evaluable NET patients was 44.4%," the company said in the release.

"By comparison, sunitinib and everolimus, the two approved single agent therapies for pancreatic NET, achieved objective response rates of less than 10% in their pivotal clinical trials. Furthermore, NET responses to sulfatinib have been observed to improve gradually with time. Results of the Phase I trial in China will be reported at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in November 2015."

Li Ka-shing

Now listed in London, Chi-Med, part of Li Ka-shing-controlled CK Hutchison Holdings, announced its intention in October to list on the Nasdaq, though it did not offer pricing guidance or even an amount to be raised.

The move to raise money in the U.S. comes as a few high-profile industry-related Chinese companies moved to exit U.S. listings. Last month, Shenzhen-based Mindray Medical ($MR) cut an offer price to $27 per share from $30 in a management-led buyout. China's top CRO WuXi PharmaTech ($WX) is also expected to complete a $3.3 billion buyout and delist from the U.S. market.

However, Beijing-based biotech BeiGene said in October as well that it plans to raise as much as $100 million on the Nasdaq in an IPO that follows a steady stream of venture capital and expansion into manufacturing in China.

- here's the release