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Henlius' Serplulimab Granted Orphan-Drug Designation in the United States for Small Cell Lung Cancer

Henlius' Serplulimab Granted Orphan-Drug Designation in the United States for Small Cell Lung Cancer

SHANGHAI, April 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Shanghai Henlius Biotech, Inc. (2696.HK) announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Orphan-Drug Designation (ODD) for HANSIZHUANG (serplulimab) for the treatment of small cell lung cancer (SCLC). This is the first such designation granted to HANSIZHUANG. The ODD granted by the FDA is beneficial for the continuous development of HANSIZHUANG and the enjoyment of certain policy support in terms of registration and commercialization in the United States. The company plans to file its NDA in China and MAA in the EU in 2022, making HANSIZHUANG potentially to be the world's first PD-1 inhibitor for the first-line treatment of SCLC.

Orphan drugs refer to pharmaceutical products developed for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of rare diseases or conditions affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. at the time of designation and to offer certain policy support, including but not limited to: 1) tax credits for clinical trial costs; 2) waiver of application fees for new drugs; and 3) seven years of market exclusivity without being affected by patent.

According to GLOBOCAN 2020, lung cancer (LC) is the second most common cancer around the world. There were 2.2 million new LC cases and 1.8 million new deaths in 2020 worldwide, and LC is the leading cause of cancer deaths[1]. SCLC accounts for 15%–20% of all cases and is the most aggressive type of LC. It is classified into two stages: limited stage (LS-SCLC) and extended stage (ES-SCLC), with both exhibiting high malignancy, strong invasiveness, early metastasis, fast disease progression, and a poor prognosis. The advent of immune checkpoint inhibitors has been proved to bring hope to patients with ES-SCLC but fraught with challenges. In recent years, a number of PD-1 mAbs have failed in the area. On the other hand, the standard treatment regimens for LS-SCLC are surgery, chemotherapy and concurrent radiotherapy. Traditional chemotherapeutic drugs did not exhibit significant progress in patients with LS-SCLC, and most patients tend to develop drug resistance or rapid relapse[2-4].

Based on the unmet clinical needs, Henlius promotes a series of immunotherapy studies in the field of SCLC, with the goal of providing more effective treatment approaches for patients. Henlius has undertaken multiple trials to investigate therapy options for both LS-SCLC and ES-SCLC, including the global multi-centre phase 3 study of HANSIZHUANG for the first-line treatment of ES-SCLC (ASTRUM-005) and the investigational new drug application (IND) of international multi-centre phase 3 studies of HANSIZHUANG (serplulimab) approval from the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA). In detail, ASTRUM-005 is a randomised, double-blind, international, multi-centre, phase 3 clinical study aimed to compare the efficacy and safety of HANSIZHUANG with placebo when combined with chemotherapy (carboplatin-etoposide) in previously untreated patients with SCLC. This study has set up about 128 sites in China, Turkey, Poland, Georgia, etc. and 585 subjects were enrolled, among whom 31.5% were Caucasian. In Dec 2021, ASTRUM-005 has met the primary study endpoint of the overall survival (OS), reducing the risk of death by 38% of the overall population (41% in the Asian subgroup). Based on the excellent readouts, the company intends to file NDA for the indication shortly.

In the future, Henlius will continue to emphasize unmet clinical needs and actively promote the combination immunotherapy of serplulimab and international regulatory registration to benefit more patients around the world.


HANSIZHUANG (recombinant humanized anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody injection, generic name: serplulimab injection) is the first innovative monoclonal antibody developed by Henlius. It is approved by the NMPA for the treatment of MSI-H solid tumors in March 2022. Henlius actively promotes HANSIZHUANG in conjunction with in-house products of the company and innovative therapies. It has successively obtained clinical trial licenses in China, the United States, the European Union and other countries and regions to initiate 9 clinical trials on immuno-oncology combination therapies of HANSIZHUANG worldwide in a wide variety of indications, such as lung cancer, esophageal carcinoma, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and gastric cancer, etc., and covering the full range of first-line treatments of lung cancers. Up to date, the company has enrolled more than 2,800 subjects in China, Turkey, Poland, Georgia and other countries and regions, and the proportion of Caucasians is over 30% in two MRCTs, making HANSIZHUANG an anti-PD-1 mAb with one of the largest global clinical data pools. The NDA of the treatment for squamous non-small cell lung cancer (sqNSCLC) has been accepted by the NMPA and is expected to be approved in 2022. Furthermore, the global multi-center phase 3 clinical study of HANSIZHUANG in combination with chemotherapy in previously untreated extensive small-cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC) met the primary endpoint of overall survival (OS) with remarkable readouts and its NDA in China and MAA in the EU are expected to be filed in 2022, making this product potentially the world's first anti-PD-1 mAb for the first-line treatment of SCLC.

About Henlius

Henlius (2696.HK) is a global biopharmaceutical company with the vision to offer high-quality, affordable and innovative biologic medicines for patients worldwide with a focus on oncology, autoimmune diseases and ophthalmic diseases. Up to date, 5 products have been launched in China, 1 in Europe, 13 indications approved worldwide, and 1 New Drug Application (NDA) accepted for review in China. Since its inception in 2010, Henlius has built an integrated biopharmaceutical platform with core capabilities of high-efficiency and innovation embedded throughout the whole product life cycle including R&D, manufacturing and commercialization. It has established global innovation centers and a Shanghai-based manufacturing facility certificated by China and the EU Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).

Henlius has pro-actively built a diversified and high-quality product pipeline covering over 20 innovative monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and has continued to explore immuno-oncology combination therapies with proprietary HANSIZHUANG (anti-PD-1 mAb) as backbone. Apart from the launched products HANLIKANG (rituximab), the first China-developed biosimilar, HANQUYOU (trastuzumab, Zercepac® in Europe), the first China-developed mAb biosimilar approved both in China and Europe, HANDAYUAN (adalimumab) and HANBEITAI (bevacizumab), the innovative product HANSIZHUANG has been approved by the NMPA for the treatment of MSI-H solid tumors and its NDA for the treatment of squamous non-small cell lung cancer is under review. What's more, Henlius has conducted over 20 clinical studies for 12 products and 9 combination therapies worldwide, expanding its presence in major markets as well as emerging markets.


[1] Sung H, Ferlay J, Siegel RL, Laversanne M, Soerjomataram I, Jemal A, Bray F. Global Cancer Statistics 2020: GLOBOCAN Estimates of Incidence and Mortality Worldwide for 36 Cancers in 185 Countries. CA Cancer J Clin. 2021 May;71(3):209-249.

[2] Faivre-Finn C, Snee M, Ashcroft L, Appel W, Barlesi F, Bhatnagar A, Bezjak A, Cardenal F, Fournel P, Harden S, Le Pechoux C, McMenemin R, Mohammed N, O'Brien M, Pantarotto J, Surmont V, Van Meerbeeck JP, Woll PJ, Lorigan P, Blackhall F; CONVERT Study Team. Concurrent once-daily versus twice-daily chemoradiotherapy in patients with limited-stage small-cell lung cancer (CONVERT): an open-label, phase 3, randomised, superiority trial. Lancet Oncol. 2017 Aug;18(8):1116-1125.

[3] Wang Z, Wan J, Liu C, Li L, Dong X, Geng H. Sequential Versus Concurrent Thoracic Radiotherapy in Combination With Cisplatin and Etoposide for N3 Limited-Stage Small-Cell Lung Cancer. Cancer Control. 2020 Jan-Dec;27(1):1073274820956619.

[4] Ha IB, Jeong BK, Jeong H, Choi HS, Chai GY, Kang MH, Kim HG, Lee GW, Na JB, Kang KM. Effect of early chemoradiotherapy in patients with limited stage small cell lung cancer. Radiat Oncol J. 2013 Dec;31(4):185-90.


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