HONG KONG, Aug. 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Akeso Inc. (“Akeso”, 9926. HK) announced completion of patient enrollment in a head-to-head study of ivonescimab (AK112, PD-1/VEGF bispecific antibody) compared with pembrolizumab as first-line treatment for patients with PD-L1 positive (PD-L1 TPS≥1%) locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
The patient enrollment completion represents another milestone in ivonescimab’s major indications development after the recent New Drug Application (NDA) acceptance from the Center for Drug Evaluation (CDE) of China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA).
Ivonescimab was already granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) by CDE as first-line treatment for NSCLC patients with positive PD-L1 expression, which will expedite the new drug launch and commercialization of ivonescimab.
In 2020, the worldwide number of newly diagnosed lung cancer patients surpassed 2.2 million, with over 810,000 new cases in China. NSCLC patients account for approximately 85% of all lung cancer cases, and approximately 70% are diagnosed at advanced stages of the disease. Pembrolizumab monotherapy, as a first-line standard therapy for the treatment of PD-L1-positive advanced NSCLC, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines and the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology (CSCO) Guidelines. Pembrolizumab is also an immunotherapy to treat various cancers which is widely recognized by the global medical community, with its global sales revenue exceeding $20.9 billion in 2022.
The ongoing Phase III head-to-head clinical trial of ivonescimab for NSCLC in comparison with standard-of-care PD- (L)1 inhibitors conducted in China, the United States, Europe, and other developed countries has demonstrated Akeso’s determination and confidence in pursuing the evidence-based medical evidence for the use of ivonescimab in NSCLC on the basis of clinical value, which will help to accelerate the success of ivonescimab in product launch and commercialization in the global market.
Following an acceptance of the marketing application of ivonescimab by the China CDE, four pivotal registrational Phase III clinical trials have been initiated/are being conducted worldwide, including three head-to-head trials with PD-1 monoclonal antibody as the positive control drug:
A Phase III study of ivonescimab monotherapy versus pembrolizumab monotherapy as first-line treatment for NSCLC patients with positive PD-L1 expression (AK112-303), which has been granted BTD in China. An international multicenter Phase III study of Ivonescimab in combination with chemotherapy for patients with EGFR-mutated, locally advanced or metastatic non-squamous NSCLC progressing on third-generation EGFR-TKI therapy (HARMONi/AK112-301), which has been granted BTD in China. A Phase III study in China for the first-line treatment of advanced squamous NSCLC with ivonescimab in combination with chemotherapy versus tislelizumab in combination with chemotherapy（AK112-306). An international multicenter Phase III study of ivonescimab in combination with chemotherapy versus pembrolizumab monoclonal antibody in combination with chemotherapy as the first-line treatment for metastatic squamous NSCLC (HARMONi-3).
Ivonescimab is a potential first-in-class investigational PD-1/VEGF bi-specific antibody discovered by Akeso and is believed to be the PD-1 / VEGF bispecific antibody that is most advanced in the clinic. It combines the effects of immunotherapy via a blockade of PD-1 with the anti-angiogenesis effects associated with blocking VEGF into a single molecule. Ivonescimab is currently engaged in multiple Phase III clinical trials worldwide.
In December 2022, Akeso entered into a collaboration and license agreement for up to US$5 billion with Summit Therapeutics(“Summit”). Akeso out-licensed to Summit exclusive rights to ivonescimab (PD-1/VEGF) for the development and commercialization in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Akeso will retain development and commercialization rights for the rest of the world including China. Ivonescimab is known as AK112 for Akeso’ R&D code at China and Australia, and as SMT112 for Summit’s license territories.
About Akeso Inc.
Akeso (HKEX: 09926) is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to discovering, developing, manufacturing, and commercializing innovative medicines that address significant medical needs globally. Since our inception , we have established a distinctive and integrated R&D innovation system with the comprehensive end-to-end drug development platform (ACE Platform) and bi-specific antibody drug development technology (Tetrabody) as the fundamental components, a GMP-compliant manufacturing system and a commercialization system with an advanced operation mode.
Akeso is internally working on a robust pipeline of over 30 innovative assets in the fields of cancer, autoimmune disease, inflammation, metabolic disease, and other major therapeutic areas. 19 assets have entered the clinical stage and 3 innovative drugs have been approved, NDAs of 4 drugs with 6 indications have been accepted, and 13 Phase III studies are ongoing. Leveraging in-house developed bispecific platform technology (“Tetrabody technology”), the company has advanced four potential first-in-class bispecific antibody drugs into market or clinical development, including cadonilimab (PD-1/CTLA-4), ivonescimab (PD-1/VEGF), PD-1/LAG-3, and TIGIT/TGF-Beta bispecific antibodies. In June 2022, cadonilimab was approved by the NMPA and became the first commercialized PD-1 based bispecific drug globally. Another Akeso internally discovered and developed oncology product, penpulimab (a PD-1 antibody), was granted marketing approval in China in August 2021. In December 2022, Akeso entered into a collaboration and license agreement for up to US$5 billion with Summit Therapeutics to accelerate global development and commercialization of ivonescimab. In August, the NDA submission of ivonescimab was accepted by China’s NMPA and granted Priority Review. Akeso is listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited.