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HUTCHMED receives $15 million to begin Phase III study of lung cancer treatment

Published on 07/03/22 at 10:58am

HUTCHMED has received $15 million from AstraZeneca, for the initiation of start-up activities for SAFFRON, the first global Phase III study for ORPATHYS for the treatment of lung cancer.

ORPATHYS will be studied in combination with TAGRISSO in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with mesenchymal epithelial transition receptor (MET) driven tumours, following progression after TAGRISSO. SAFFRON is expected to commence enrolling patients in mid-2022. 

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women, accounting for approximately one-fifth of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer is broadly split into NSCLC and small cell lung cancer, with 80-85% classified as NSCLC. The majority of NSCLC patients are diagnosed with advanced disease, while roughly 25-30% present with resectable disease at diagnosis.

Savolitinib (ORPATHYS in China) is an oral, potent, and highly selective MET tyrokinase inhibitor that has demonstrated clinical activity in advanced solid tumours. It blocks atypical activation of the MET receptor tyrosine kinase pathway that occurs because of mutations or gene amplification.

In 2011, following its discovery by HUTCHMED, the company entered a global licensing and collaboration agreement to jointly develop and commercialise savolitinib with AstraZeneca. Under the terms of the agreement, a $15 million milestone payment is triggered by the initiation of start-up activities for the SAFFRON study. Joint development of the drug is led by HUTCHMED, and AstraZeneca leads development outside of China. HUTCHMED is responsible for the marketing authorisation, manufacturing, and supply of savolitinib in China, while AstraZeneca is responsible for the commercialisation of the drug in China and worldwide.

Lina Adams

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