Hutchison China MediTech Limited (Chi-Med) announces the first commercial launch of fruquintinib capsules (Elunate) with the initiation of product sales in China
Elunate is for the treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) that have been previously treated with fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin and irinotecan, including those who have previously received or are unsuitable for antivascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy and/or antiepidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) therapy (Ras wild type).
CRC is the second most common cancer type in China, with about 380,000 new cases per year.
The market launch of Elunate in China is being conducted through collaboration with Chi-Med’s partner Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly).
“This launch is a major milestone for Chi-Med,” said Simon To, Chairman of Chi-Med.
“We are very proud to have brought fruquintinib from its initial discovery through to its first sale, and now look forward to seeing patients in China benefit from this important new therapy.”
He added: “This achievement reinforces Chi-Med’s position as a fast emerging biotech company, and illustrates China’s capability to emerge as an important global force in oncology innovation.”
Fruquintinib was first approved by the National Medical Products Administration of China (“NMPA”) in September 2018 for the treatment of advanced CRC, becoming the first China-discovered and -developed pharmaceutical for a mainstream oncology indication to be unconditionally approved in China.
Chi-Med has established a manufacturing facility in Suzhou, China to produce fruquintinib.
Dr Wang Li, Senior Vice President, Head of Lilly China Drug Development & Medical Affairs Center, said: “We look forward to working with Chi-Med to bring this novel medicine to patients, addressing the significant unmet need in colorectal cancer in China.”
Given the broad relevance of antiangiogenesis therapies in cancer biology and the observed effects in various cancers to date, Chi-Med is developing fruquintinib in multiple further indications, including in combination with other cancer therapies.