The NDA of the Novel Anti-PD-1 mAb Serplulimab of Henlius Accepted by NMPA and Proposed to be Granted Priority Review
Shanghai, China, April 22th, 2021 –Shanghai Henlius Biotech, Inc. (2696.HK) announced that the New Drug Application (NDA) of serplulimab injection (HLX10), a novel anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody (mAb), for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) solid tumors that fail to respond to the standard therapy, has been accepted by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) and proposed to be granted priority review. Serplulimab is potentially to be the first anti-PD-1 mAb in MSI-H solid tumors in China. For this indication, patients are screened for specific MSI-H tumor markers, rather than classifying the tumor types, covering a wide range of cancer types. Henlius adopts the “Combo+Global” development strategy for serplulimab, focusing on indication differentiation and combination therapy, with a total of 10 clinical trials conducted worldwide.
The co-leading principal investigator of serplulimab Phase 2 clinical trial in unresectable or metastatic microsatellite instability-high or mismatch repair-deficient (MSI-H/dMMR) solid tumors, Professor Shukui Qin of Cancer Center of Nanjing Jinling Hospital, said, ” Serplulimab showed excellent anti-tumor activity in preclinical and early-stage clinical studies, and the results of the Phase 2 clinical study in MSI-H solid tumors also states the favorable safety and efficacy. We hope that this China-developed novel PD-1 inhibitor will be launched as soon as possible, so that more patients with solid tumors could be accessible to high quality immunotherapy new options.”
Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Henlius, Mr. Wenjie Zhang, said, “Serplulimab is the core innovative mAb of Henlius. Focusing on combination immunotherapy and international clinical trials, we have built up a differentiation development strategy for the product. Steady progress has been made in all clinical studies. We are very grateful to all the subjects, physicians and colleagues that have contributed to the NDA acceptance of serplulimab. We will push forward the clinical process in more indications as soon as possible and look forward to benefiting more patients around the world.”
Several pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials covering comprehensive cancer types with high incidence
With the"Combo+Global" strategy, steady progress has been made in the clinical studies of 2 monotherapies and 8 combination therapies of serplulimab with chemotherapy, in-house VEGF and EGFR targets mAbs. Henlius actively carries out combination therapies that cover a wide range of tumor types with high incidence such as lung cancer, esophageal cancer, hepatocellular cancer,gastric cancer, head and neck cancer, and implements differentiation clinical development based on the Chinese cancer characteristics. Among them, while there are few explorations in the gastric cancer neoadjuvant/adjuvant area of PD-1 inhibitors, Henlius has conducted Phase 3 clinical studies in this field, leading the clinical trial progress around the globe, with the aim of enabling gastric cancer patients to benefit from the early line of immunotherapy. What’s more, the company has achieved all-around layout in the first-line of lung cancer, and has entered pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials in first-line squamous non-small cell lung cancer (sqNSCLC), first-line non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (nsqNSCLC) and first-line small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The NDA filing of HLX10 in combination with chemotherapy for the first-line treatment of sqNSCLC in China will also be expected in the second half of 2021.
The all-around international layout to benefit emerging markets
The manufacturing and development of serplulimab is strictly in accordance with international standards and its manufacturing facility based in Shanghai has passed the European Union (EU) and China GMP certification. Henlius developed the international layout for serplulimab, which has been approved for clinical trials in China, the United States, the EU and other countries and regions. About 2000 patients have been enrolled in China, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, etc., which shows confidence and recognition on the quality of the product in the international market. Apart from conducting international trials of HLX10, Henlius also actively seeks for international cooperation opportunities with the aim of benefiting more patients in the world, especially patients in emerging markets. Henlius has reached a collaboration agreement with PT Kalbe Genexine Biologics (KG Bio), upon which KG Bio is granted exclusive rights to develop and commercialize serplulimab in relation to its first monotherapy and two combination therapies in 10 Southeast Asian countries.
With the continuous development of the "Combo+Global" strategy, Henlius continues to build a diversified pipeline of innovative drug candidates with serplulimab as the lead, actively accelerating innovation and improving innovation efficiency, and committing to bringing affordable and high-quality innovative biologics to patients around the world.
About MSI-H solid tumors
The defect of mismatch repair (MMR) that can lead to base mismatch or insert in microsatellites during DNA replication, and the accumulation of incorrect bases usually causes microsatellite instability (MSI). MSI-H often occurs in several cancer types, such as endometrial cancer, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, renal cell carcinoma, ovarian cancer, etc. Studies have revealed that the prevalence of MSI-H across all tumor types is 14%. Patients who suffer from this disease usually have higher response rates for immune checkpoint inhibitors[4-5]. Thus, MSI-H is becoming a more and more important biomarker for the immunotherapy predictions of patients with solid tumors. If the patient is MSI-H positive and meets the treatment criteria, the corresponding immunotherapy can be carried out without screening tumor sites and pathological classification, which aligns with the advanced concept of precision medicine and is applicable to a wide range of cancer types. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has approved PD-1 target mAb for the treatment of second-line MSI-H/dMMR advanced solid tumors and first/second-line MSI-H/dMMR colorectal cancers. While there are still no anti-PD-1 mAb approved for MSI-H/dMMR advanced solid tumors in China, the treatment needs are far from being met.
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 Aurelien Marabelle, Dung T Le, Paolo A Asciert, et al. Efficacy of Pembrolizumab in Patients With Noncolorectal High Microsatellite Instability/Mismatch Repair-Deficient Cancer: Results From the Phase IIKEYNOTE-158 Study[J]. J Clin Oncol, 2020, 38(1): 1-10.