Hutchison MediPharma's fruquintinib notches a second proof-of-concept result

Hutchison MediPharma ($HMP) said its in-licensed candidate fruquintinib met its primary endpoint in a second proof-of-concept China trial for advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer with details to be released at an upcoming meeting.

Hutchison China MediTech, or Chi-Med, which holds the majority of R&D unit HMP, in a press release said fruquintinib showed progression-free survival with the China rights out-licensed from Eli Lilly ($LLY) in 2013 from which the company received $18 million in May for reaching benchmarks.

"The first POC Phase II study for fruquintinib, targeted at patients with metastatic third-line colorectal cancer, clearly met its primary endpoint of superior median PFS versus placebo in March 2015 and detailed results will be presented at the upcoming 2015 European Cancer Congress later this month," the release said.

In August, Janssen Pharmaceuticals exited from a 7-year alliance with HMP to develop a novel inflammation/immunology candidate, HMPL-507, with the Hong Kong-based firm saying it will carry on independently.

In July, Chi-Med reported 6-month interim results that showed net profit dropped to $2.3 million from $5.4 million compared to the same period a year ago. The results did however note major stepped-up clinical activity in the period. The company, in a detailed update on all of its pipeline candidates, also said it sees a threefold expansion in production by the end of this year or early 2016 in own-brand products.

Earlier the same month, Chi-Med cemented its already majority stake in HMP via a share exchange deal with Japan's Mitsui & Co. in a disclosure notice with few details, but ahead of study results later this year on a promising candidate for China approval.

The transaction raised the direct holding of Chi-Med in HMP to 99.75% followed just a few months after a May notice of a positive first proof-of-concept study result for fruquintinib, a candidate for treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer in China.

- here's the release (PDF)