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.