Chi-Med and BeiGene each plan to explore development of the combination of surufatinib with tislelizumab or fruquintinib with tislelizumab in different indications and regions. The companies have agreed to provide mutual drug supply and other support.
“We are very pleased to enter into this clinical collaboration with BeiGene, a company with which we share a vision to discover, develop and commercialize innovative targeted therapies and immunotherapies worldwide,” said Marek Kania, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Hutchison MediPharma International.
Lai Wang, senior vice president, head of global research, clinical operations and biometrics and APAC clinical development, BeiGene, said, “By working together with a partner like Chi-Med, we hope to understand and develop innovative combination therapies that may bring meaningful treatments to cancer patients around the world. Through this collaboration we plan to further evaluate tislelizumab in combination with oral VEGFR inhibitors to target a variety of solid tumor cancers.”
Each of these three compounds are currently in late-stage global clinical development across many countries outside of China. Tislelizumab is a humanized IgG4 anti-programmed death-1 (PD-1) monoclonal antibody specifically designed to minimize binding to Fc receptor gamma (FcγR), which is believed to play an essential role in activating phagocytosis in macrophages, to minimize its negative impact on T effector cells. Fruquintinib is designed to improve kinase selectivity against vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFR) in order to minimize off-target toxicities, and thereby provide consistent coverage and better tolerability, which is very important in combinations. Surufatinib, a VEGFR inhibitor, inhibits colony stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF-1R) additionally, thereby blocking the accumulation of tumor associated macrophages and promoting infiltration of T effector cells into tumors, leading to possible synergistic anti-tumor activity with PD-1 inhibitors.
Tislelizumab and fruquintinib have both been approved by the China National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), which is also currently reviewing the New Drug Application (NDA) for surufatinib that was submitted late last year.