On June 30, 2019 LSK BioPharma (or "LSKB"), a US-based biopharmaceutical firm and Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine, Co., Ltd. (SHA:600276, or "Hengrui"), one of the largest and most innovative fully-integrated biopharmaceutical companies based in China, reported the first patient has been enrolled in a pivotal global phase 3 clinical study of PD-1 antibody camrelizumab (SHR-1210) plus rivoceranib (commonly known as apatinib) versus sorafenib as a first-line therapy in subjects with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) (Press release, LSK BioPharma, JUN 30, 2019, View Source [SID1234537337]). Rivoceranib, a selective VEGFR-2 inhibitor commonly known as apatinib, was approved in 3rd line gastric cancer in China in December 2014. Camrelizumab is a humanized anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody which recently received the approval in China for classic Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (cHL).
"We are excited to study the potential synergies of rivoceranib with immunotherapy and demonstrate the benefits to HCC patients in a first line setting," said Dr. Steve Norton, Vice President of Drug Development at LSKB.
Hengrui has been conducting an open-label, single arm multicenter phase 2 study (NCT03463876) to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the combination of camrelizumab and apatinib in patients with advanced HCC in China, where Hengrui has received approval of apatinib monotherapy for advanced gastric cancer. At ASCO (Free ASCO Whitepaper) 2018, it was reported that the objective response rate (ORR) and disease control rate (DCR) were 50.0% and 85.7%, respectively, among 14 evaluated advanced HCC patients treated by camrelizumab in combination with apatinib in an open-label, phase 1 study in China (Xu et al., NCT02942329). In addition, camrelizumab and apatinib combination therapy is also being evaluated by Hengrui for multiple indications including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), small cell lung cancer (SCLC), and gastric cancer (GC) in China.
Based upon earlier studies, it is hypothesized that the combination of rivoceranib and camrelizumab may enhance the immune system, aiding the fight against cancer. In addition to the known anti-angiogenic effects of rivoceranib, it may also enhance camrelizumab’s anti-tumor activity by normalizing tumor vasculature and reversing the tumor suppressive immune microenvironment.
About Rivoceranib (Apatinib)
Rivoceranib, also known as apatinib or Aitan (brand name) in China, is the first successful small-molecule angiogenesis inhibitor in gastric cancer. Rivoceranib is investigational outside of China including in the United States; and safety and efficacy have not been established. It acts by inhibiting angiogenesis, a critical process in cancer growth and proliferation. Specifically, rivoceranib selectively inhibits VEGFR-2 which mediates the primary pathway for tumor-mediated angiogenesis.
Hengrui, who owns the China rights to rivoceranib, received the approval from China National Medical Products Administration (NMPA, formerly known as CFDA) in 2014 to market the drug under the brand name Aitan in China for advanced gastric cancer. LSKB, which holds the global rights (ex-China), has completed enrollment of a global (12 countries including US, Japan, Korea, Italy, Germany, and Russia) phase 3 clinical trial of rivoceranib in advanced or metastatic gastric cancer patients. Rivoceranib (apatinib) is currently listed in 264 clinical studies on www.clinicaltrials.gov with over 20,000 patients enrolled or planned to be enrolled in trials targeting numerous cancers including GC, colorectal cancer (CRC), HCC, NSCLC, esophageal cancer, thyroid cancer, mesothelioma, and neuroendocrine tumors. It has also shown potential to improve outcomes in combination with chemotherapeutics and immunotherapy, as well as for maintenance therapy. LSKB has received notification designating rivoceranib as an orphan medicinal product for the treatment of gastric cancer from the European Commission in the European Union, the US FDA, as well as the MFDS in South Korea.
Rivoceranib was developed by Advenchen Laboratories in Southern California under the designation YN968D1. The compound was exclusively licensed to Hengrui in China (2005) and LSKB (2007) for rest of the world.
About Camrelizumab (SHR-1210)
Camrelizumab (SHR-1210) is an investigational humanized monoclonal antibody recognizing the programmed death-1 (PD-1) receptor. Camrelizumab functions as an immune checkpoint inhibitor by specifically blocking the interaction between PD-1 and PD-L1 and reversing the immunosuppressive signal of PD-1 on the T cell. Approximately 72 clinical studies on camrelizumab in multiple indications including lung cancer, liver cancer, gastric cancer, esophageal cancer, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, lymphoma, melanoma and other advanced solid tumors are being conducted in China and Australia as monotherapy or in combination with other therapeutic agents. A marketing application for camrelizumab for relapsed/refractory classic Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was submitted by Hengrui to China NMPA, which was accepted in April 2018, and is currently under review.