Shanghai: Friday, December 15, 2017: Hutchison China MediTech Limited (“Chi-Med”) (AIM/Nasdaq: HCM) has initiated the United States Phase I bridging clinical trial of fruquintinib. Fruquintinib is a highly selective and potent oral inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (“VEGFR”) 1, 2 and 3, that has met its primary endpoint in several Phase II and III clinical trials in China for the treatment of colorectal, lung and gastric cancers. The clinical study in the U.S. is a multi-center, open-label, Phase I clinical study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of fruquintinib in U.S. patients with advanced solid tumors. The first drug dose was administered earlier this month. Additional details about this study may be found at clinicaltrials.gov, using identifier NCT03251378.
About Fruquintinib Development in China
Colorectal cancer: The China Food and Drug Administration (“CFDA”) acknowledged acceptance of the New Drug Application (“NDA”) for fruquintinib for the treatment of patients with advanced colorectal cancer (“CRC”) in June 2017. Fruquintinib was subsequently awarded priority review status in view of its significant clinical value, according to a CFDA announcement in September 2017. The NDA is supported by data from the successful FRESCO study, a Phase III pivotal registration trial of fruquintinib in 416 patients with CRC in China, which was highlighted in an oral presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting held on June 5, 2017 (clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02314819). The FRESCO study followed an initial Phase I trial in 40 solid tumor patients, a Phase Ib study in 62 CRC patients, and a Phase II clinical trial in 71 CRC patients.
Lung cancer: Fruquintinib is being studied in a Phase III pivotal trial in approximately 520 third-line non-small cell lung cancer (“NSCLC”) patients, known as the FALUCA study (clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02691299), following a Phase II clinical trial in 91 third-line NSCLC patients. Fruquintinib is concurrently being studied in a Phase II study in combination with Iressa® (gefitinib) in first-line setting for patients with advanced or metastatic NSCLC (clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02976116).
Gastric cancer: In October 2017, Chi-Med initiated a pivotal Phase III clinical trial of fruquintinib in combination with Taxol® (paclitaxel), known as the FRUTIGA study, for the treatment of over 500 patients with advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma (clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT03223376).
In China, fruquintinib is jointly developed with Eli Lilly and Company.
Fruquintinib (HMPL-013) is a highly selective small molecule drug candidate that has been shown to inhibit VEGFR 24 hours a day via an oral dose, with lower off-target toxicities compared to other targeted therapies. Its tolerability, along with its clean drug-drug interaction profile demonstrated to date, may enable rational combination with other cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and other targeted therapies, which are being studied in our ongoing clinical trials of fruquintinib.
At an advanced stage, tumors secrete large amounts of vascular endothelial growth factor (“VEGF”), a protein ligand, to stimulate formation of excessive vasculature (angiogenesis) around the tumor to provide greater blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients to the tumor. VEGF and VEGFR play pivotal roles in tumor-related angiogenesis, and fruquintinib inhibits the VEGF/VEGFR pathway. This represents an important therapeutic strategy in blocking the development of new blood vessels essential for tumors to grow and invade.