Endometrial cancer drug receives breakthrough therapy designation in China 

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endometrial cancer

HUTCHMED (China) Limited has announced that the Center for Drug Evaluation of China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) to the combination of fruquintinib and sintilimab (a PD-1 antibody) for the treatment of patients with advanced endometrial cancer with pMMR tumors that have failed at least one line of platinum-based therapy. 

A study for potential registration of this combination in patients with previously treated advanced endometrial cancer in China has recently completed enrollment.

It is a multi-center, open-label clinical study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of fruquintinib in combination with sintilimab. Entry criteria include those endometrial cancer patients who experienced disease recurrence, disease progression or grade 3 or higher serious adverse events with treatment on platinum-based chemotherapy. 

The primary endpoint is independent review committee (IRC) assessed objective response rate (ORR), with secondary endpoints including disease control rate (“DCR”),progression free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), as well as pharmacokinetic (PK) assessments. A total of 142 previously treated, advanced endometrial cancer patients were enrolled. 

Favorable results from this trial could lead to submission to the NMPA in the first half of 2024 for regulatory approval in this treatment setting.  

About endometrial cancer

Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the uterus. Globally, an estimated 417,000 people were diagnosed with endometrial cancer and it caused approximately 97,000 deaths in 2020. Іn China, an estimated 82,000 people were diagnosed with endometrial cancer and it caused approximately 17,000 deaths in 2020.

Although early-stage endometrial cancer can be surgically resected, recurrent and/or metastatic endometrial cancer remains an area of high unmet need with poor outcomes and limited treatment options.  

About Fruquintinib

Fruquintinib is a highly selective and potent oral inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) -1, -2 and -3. VEGFR inhibitors play a pivotal role in blocking tumor angiogenesis. Fruquintinib was designed to improve kinase selectivity with the intention of minimizing off-target toxicities, improving tolerability and providing more consistent target coverage. Fruquintinib has been generally well tolerated in patients to date and is being investigated in combinations with other anti-cancer therapies.

Fruquintinib was approved for marketing by the NMPA in September 2018 and commercially launched in China in November 2018 under the brand name ELUNATE, for the treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) who have been previously treated with fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin and irinotecan, including those who have previously received anti-VEGF therapy and/or anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) therapy (RAS wild type). It has been included in the National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL) since January 2020.

The safety and efficacy of fruquintinib for the following investigational uses have not been established and there is no guarantee that it will receive health authority approval or become commercially available in any country for the uses being investigated.

Filing of a rolling submission of NDA to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was accepted and granted priority review in May 2023 with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) date of November 30, 2023. Submission to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was validated in June 2023, and submission to the Japan Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) is expected to be completed in 2023. 

An NDA to the NMPA was accepted in April 2023 for fruquintinib in combination with paclitaxel for the treatment of second-line advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma. 

HUTCHMED is also developing fruquintinib in China for the treatment of multiple other solid tumor cancers in combination with anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies. Fruquintinib is licensed to Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited outside of China. HUTCHMED markets fruquintinib in China in partnership with Eli Lilly and Company.

About Sintilimab

Sintilimab, marketed as TYVYT (sintilimab injection) in China, is a PD-1 immunoglobulin G4 monoclonal antibody co-developed by Innovent Biologics, Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company. 

Sintilimab is a type of immunoglobulin G4 monoclonal antibody, which binds to PD-1 molecules on the surface of T-cells, blocks the PD-1 / PD-Ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway, and reactivates T-cells to kill cancer cells. Innovent is currently conducting more than 20 clinical studies of sintilimab to evaluate its safety and efficacy in a wide variety of cancer indications, including more than 10 registrational or pivotal clinical trials.

In China, sintilimab has been approved for seven indications and included in the NRDL for six indications.

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