Post-ASCO 2022: Summary of key highlights from Chinese innovation

As ASCO concludes for another year, here at Deallus we were excited to see significant data announcements by Chinese innovators, unveiling enormous potential from China-originated innovation to address unmet needs within the oncology space.

This year, ASCO had a strong focus on bispecific antibodies, with a Clinical Science Symposium on ‘Bispecifics: are two better than one?’ suggesting that bispecifics are poised to be the next wave of antibody-based therapies for oncology. One of the presenters reported that AK104, an anti-PD1 and anti-CTLA4 bispecific antibody developed by the HKEX-listed biotech Akeso Inc., showed promising anti-tumour activities in combination with standard therapy (platinum-based chemotherapy +/- bevacizumab) as the first-line treatment of persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer (R/M CC) (NCT04868708).

We await the publication of further clinical benefits as the PD-1/CLTA4-bispecific antibody is currently undergoing a phase III trial to evaluate its efficacy and safety as the first-line treatment in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy +/- bevacuzimab for R/M CC patients (NCT04982237).

Equally, Chinese innovation on antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) showcased exciting clinical progress. Since its ASCO debut in 2017, the recombinant humanised anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody-MMAE conjugate RC48-ADC, which was initially developed in China by RemeGen and later tied in with the Seagen for a $2.6Bn licensing deal in August 2021, brought exciting updates from a US-based pivotal phase II study for metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC).

This year, the promising data showed in the RC48-C014 trial that RC48-ADC may have a synergistic antitumor effect when combined with anti-PD-1 antibody toripalimab in HER2-positive and even negative patients with mUC who failed with platinum-based chemotherapy (NCT04264936).

With 61% of patients being treatment-naïve and 39% receiving at least one prior line of therapy, the ORR of 71.8% in these patients indicated that the ADC-PD1 combo may bring good news to the HER2- positive mUC subgroup who fail to respond to multiple agents. Previously, the positive data readout as an ORR of 60.5% and a disease control rate of 90.7% from the phase II RC48-C005 trial (NCT03507166) for previously treated HER2+ mUC patients have enabled Seagen to seek for an accelerated approval pathway for RC48-ADC with the FDA.

Deallus’ passion in oncology and innovation will continue to drive us to closely follow the China-originated innovation beyond ASCO. As part of our expertise spectrum, we look forward to bringing further insights on the clinical progress of China originated innovation within the oncology space.