- Proposed Initiation of a Pivotal Phase II Trial of ASC40 in Combination with Bevacizumab in Chinese Patients with First Relapse of High-grade Astrocytoma
- In-house discovered oral PD-L1 inhibitors demonstrated favorable anti-tumor activities in the animal model compared to a marketed anti-PD-L1 antibody
HANGZHOU, China and SHAOXING, China, March 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Ascletis Pharma Inc. (HKEX: 1672) announces today that the board of directors (the "Board") of the Company has resolved to deploy more resources and investment in the R&D of cancer lipid metabolism and oral checkpoint inhibitors, our pipeline of which is shown below:
Notes: 1. ASC40 and ASC60 are licensed from Sagimet Biosciences Inc. (previously known as 3-V Biosciences, Inc.) for the exclusive rights in the Greater China.
The Board believes that the Company has made significant efforts and progress over the last few years through in-licensing and in-house R&D in the areas of cancer lipid metabolism and oral PD-L1 small molecule inhibitors, which has laid a solid foundation for the future development in our oncology pipeline.
The positive results were demonstrated from the investigator sponsored Phase II trial of ASC40(TVB-2640) in combination with bevacizumab in patients with first relapse of high-grade astrocytoma, which was completed in the United States (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03032484). The Company plans to initiate a pivotal randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II trial of ASC40 (TVB-2640) in combination with bevacizumab in China for the same patient population (first relapse of high-grade astrocytoma) as in the United States.
The data from the investigator sponsored Phase II trial were presented at European Society for Medical Oncology 2020 and have shown that the overall response rate (ORR) for ASC40 (TVB-2640) plus bevacizumab was 65% including the complete response (CR) of 20% and partial response (PR) of 45%. Furthermore, the data indicate that the progression-free survival at six months (PFS6) observed for ASC40 (TVB-2640) plus bevacizumab was 47%, representing a statistically significant improvement in PFS6 over historical bevacizumab monotherapy (BELOB16%, P=0.01). ASC40 (TVB-2640) in combination with bevacizumab was safe and well tolerated in such patient population.
Lipid metabolism has been reported to play a critical role in various cancers. Fatty acid synthase (FASN) is one of the most important proteins which regulate lipid metabolism. Many solid and hematopoietic tumors overexpress FASN, including glioblastoma (GBM, Grade IV astrocytoma), non-small cell lung, breast, ovarian, prostate, colon, pancreatic cancers, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
In addition to FASN inhibitors in combination of bevacizumab, an anti-angiogenesis drug, in-house data and external research papers indicate that FASN inhibitors have potential to treat multiple tumors in combination with signal transduction inhibitors and immunotherapies. Therefore, the Company is considering additional clinical trials for (1) ASC40 in combination with chemotherapies for high-grade astrocytoma immediately followed by the surgery and radiation therapy; (2) ASC40 in combination with other therapies for various solid tumors. As a next generation oral FASN inhibitor, ASC60 has potential to be combined with other therapies for various solid tumors.
In addition to cancer lipid metabolism drug candidates targeting FASN, the Company’s oral PD-L1 small molecule inhibitors discovered in-house have shown favorable anti-tumor activities in animal model compared to a marketed anti-PD-L1 antibody. The Company believes that oral PD-L1 small molecule inhibitors are next generation checkpoint inhibitors as cancer immune therapies and have potential to be combined with oral FASN small molecule inhibitors.
"We are excited about our oncology pipeline since it has strong competitive edges in the crowded oncology space," said Dr. Jinzi J. Wu, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Ascletis. "The recent breakthrough from the Phase II trial in patients with first relapse of high-grade astrocytoma indicates that oral FASN inhibitors can play a significant role in the treatment of multiple solid tumors. Furthermore, we are now seeking collaborations with other pharmaceutical companies to develop various combination regimens with FASN inhibitors."
Ascletis is an innovative R&D driven biotech and listed on Hong Kong Stock Exchange (1672.HK). Ascletis is committed to developing and commercializing innovative drugs in the areas of NASH, cancer lipid metabolism and oral checkpoint inhibitors, viral hepatitis and HIV/AIDS for unmet medical needs in China and globally. Led by a management team with deep expertise and a proven track record, Ascletis has developed into a fully integrated platform covering the entire value chain from discovery and development to manufacturing and commercialization.
Ascletis has three marketed products and seventeen R&D pipeline drug candidates or combination therapies (eleven of them developed in-house). 1. NASH: Gannex, a wholly-owned company of Ascletis, is fully dedicated to the R&D and commercialization of new drugs in the field of NASH. Gannex has three clinical stage drug candidates against three different targets – FASN, THR-beta and FXR, and three pre-clinical stage combination therapies. 2. Cancer lipid metabolism and oral checkpoint inhibitors: focus on a pipeline of oral inhibitors targeting FASN which plays a key role in cancer lipid metabolism and a pipeline of oral PD-L1 small molecule inhibitors as the next generation checkpoint inhibitors. 3. Viral hepatitis: (i) Hepatitis B: focus on breakthrough therapies for HBV clinical cure with subcutaneously injected PD-L1 antibody – ASC22 and Pegasys® as cornerstone drugs. (ii) Hepatitis C: successfully launched all oral regimen of ASCLEVIR® and GANOVO® combination (RDV/DNV regimen); and ASC18 fixed dose combination (FDC) is an upgraded version of RDV/DNV regimen with bridging study finished. 4. HIV/AIDS: ASC09F is a FDC treatment of HIV targeting protease. The clinical trial application of ASC09F has been approved. For more information, please visit www.ascletis.com.
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