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Innovent and Lilly Expand Strategic Partnership in Oncology

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Innovent and Lilly Expand Strategic Partnership in Oncology | Pharmtech Focus

Innovent Biologics, Inc. (“Innovent”, HKEX: 01801), a world-class biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and commercializes high-quality medicines for the treatment of cancer, metabolic, autoimmune and other major diseases, and Eli Lilly and Company (“Lilly”,NYSE: LLY) today announced that in light of both parties’ shared commitment to continue bringing innovative medicines to benefit Chinese patients and to leverage the strengths of each party in a win-win manner, parties will now expand the strategic partnership through:

i) an agreement for Innovent to obtain the sole commercialization rights to import, market, promote, distribute and detail Cyramza® (ramucirumab) and Retsevmo® (selpercatinib) once approved in Mainland China, and
ii) a right of first negotiation granted to Innovent for potential future commercialization of Pirtobrutinib in Mainland China.

Cyramza® (ramucirumab) was the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved treatment for patients with advanced or metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma with disease progression on or after prior chemotherapy and the first FDA approved biomarker-driven therapy in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In China, Cyramza® (ramucirumab) in combination with paclitaxel was approved by National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) for second-line treatment in patients with advanced or metastatic GEJ adenocarcinoma in March 2022, making it the first and only drug approved for the second-line treatment of advanced gastric cancer in China. The New Drug Application (NDA) for Cyramza® (ramucirumab) as second-line treatment in patients with HCC with baseline alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) ≥400ng/mL following first-line sorafenib was accepted by NMPA in September 2021. Gastric cancer and liver cancer are the third and fifth largest cancers in terms of incidence with a total of approximately 900,000 new cases yearly in China. Most of the patients experience disease progression on or after first-line treatment. There is an unmet medical need for new treatment options to improve outcomes in these patients.

Retsevmo® (selpercatinib) is a highly selective and potent rearranged during transfection (RET) inhibitor. It was approved by FDA, under the brand name Retevmo, as the first therapy specifically indicated for the treatment of adult patients with metastatic RET fusion-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older with advanced or metastatic RET-mutant medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) who require systemic therapy, and adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older with advanced or metastatic RET fusion-positive thyroid cancer who require systemic therapy and  who are radioactive iodine-refractory (if radioactive iodine is appropriate). In China, the NDA for Retsevmo® (selpercatinib) for the above indications was accepted by NMPA and granted priority review in August 2021.

According to the agreement, Innovent has the sole commercialization rights for both Cyramza® and Retsevmo®, once approved in China, of which Innovent will be fully responsible for the pricing, importation, marketing, distribution and detailing of these two products. With a further expanded oncology product portfolio, Innovent intends to use its experienced oncology commercial team to leverage its broad commercial coverage in hospitals and pharmacies at various tiers to make these novel treatment options available to cancer patients in China.

In addition, Lilly has granted a right of first negotiation to Innovent for the potential future commercialization of pirtobrutinib in China. Pirtobrutinib is an investigational, oral, highly selective, non-covalent (reversible) Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor being studied globally for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).

Under the terms of the agreement, upon regulatory approvals of Cyramza® in the hepatocellular carcinoma indication and Retsevmo® in the non-small lung cancer indication, Innovent will make payments of US$45 million in total and then intends to commercialize Cyramza® and Retsevmo® in China.

Dr. Michael Yu, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Innovent, stated, “With our long-term strategic partnership with Lilly as a strong foundation, we are excited to further expand our productive relationship through this agreement. Innovent has built up a robust oncology pipeline of over 20 clinical stage assets, an industry-leading medical operations and regulatory affairs team, a broad commercial channel and a professional commercial team of about 3,000 people. Lilly and Innovent have jointly launched and marketed TYVYT® (sintilimab) and HALPRYZA® (rituximab biosimilar) successfully in China. The addition of Cyramza® and Retsevmo®, two potential differentiated products, will potentially further expand our oncology portfolio to seven commercialized products by this year, enabling us to provide integrated patient solutions with strong portfolio synergies while enhancing our franchise in large cancer indications including NSCLC, GC and HCC, and potentially in hematological malignancies as well. With Innovent and Lilly’s joint commitment and effort, we hope to make these new treatment options available to benefit more cancer patients in China as soon as possible.”

Julio Gay-Ger, President and General Manager of Lilly China, said“We are very proud of this agreement with Innovent, which is a key long-term strategic partner in China. Oncology is one of Lilly’s core therapeutic areas globally, in which the partnership between the two parties has seen rich fruits in the past several years. We are very confident that through this agreement, Innovent can bring forward Lilly’s innovative medicines to potentially be able to benefit Chinese patients with gastric cancer and lung cancer, helping them live better lives and help realize the ‘Healthy China 2030’goals.”

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