Week In Review: Haohai Bio Enters $527 Million Deal For Dermatology Products

COVID-19 Pandemic 

  • Suzhou Kintor Pharma (HK: 9939) reported that proxalutamide, its androgen receptor agonist, reduced mortality risk in newly hospitalized COVID-19 patients by 92% (3.7% vs 47.6%) (see story). It also shortened median hospital length stay by nine days (median of five days vs. 14 days). The results came from a investigator-led trial in Brazil that enrolled 588 patients and compared proxalutamide plus standard care to standard care alone. Kintor is developing proxalutamide for COVID-19, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.  

Trials and Approvals

  • China Oncology Focus (COF), a Lee's Pharm (HK: 950) affiliate, was approved to start a China Phase III trial of its anti-PD-L1 antibody as a first-line treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (see story). In 2014, COF in-licensed socazolimab from San Diego's Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE). The China trial will be a multicenter, randomized, double blinded, parallel-group, clinical combination test of socazolimab and chemotherapy. The Phase III approval was based on positive results from an earlier Phase Ib trial.
  • Jiangsu Alphamab Oncology (HK: 9966) was approved to start a US Phase II trial of its PD-L1/CTLA-4 bispecific antibody in patients with thymic carcinoma, a rare disease (see story). Alphamab said inoperable or metastatic thymic carcinoma, although rare, is highly aggressive with no approved treatments. In an Australian Phase I trial, KN046 showed a 75% disease response rate and 100% disease control rate in patients with the disease. Alphamab has already dosed the first thymic carcinoma patient in a pivotal China Phase II trial.
  • Shanghai Gannex Pharma, a subsidiary of Hangzhou's Ascletis (HK:1672), reported positive topline results from the China cohort of a Phase II trial for its nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) treatment (see story). The randomized, placebo-controlled trial tested ASC40, a novel oral, once-daily, fatty acid synthase (FASN) inhibitor, developed by Sagimet Biosciences of San Mateo, CA. In 2019, Ascletis led a $25 million Series E financing of Sagimet in return for China rights to the candidate.
  • BeiGene (BGNE) of Beijing started a global Phase I trial of BGB-15025, a novel hematopoietic progenitor kinase 1 (HPK1) inhibitor, in patients with advanced solid tumor cancers (see story). BGB-15025 is a small molecule oral inhibitor of HPK1, a kinase downstream of the T cell receptor signaling pathway that is thought to play a key role in T cell activation. BeiGene will test BGB-15025 as a monotherapy and in combination with its approved anti-PD-1 antibody, tislelizumab.
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