Eli Lilly, China's Innovent launch lung cancer drug

Date: 24 Mar 2021

United States-based Eli Lilly and Innovent, a domestic pharmaceutical company, jointly announced on Sunday the China market launch of a PD-1 inhibitor to be used for the indication of a main type of non-small cell lung cancer, a major tumor species threatening people's health in China and worldwide.

It was the latest demonstration to show that research and development collaboration between a local innovative business and a global giant in the biomedical field can benefit China, as well as the world, the two parties said.

"We're recruiting non-Chinese patients for future clinical trials and are talking to regulatory authorities overseas to find a better path aiming to get approval for the drug around the world," said Julio Gay-Ger, president and general manager of Lilly China.

"We're proud of the drug, which is an example of 'from China and for the world'. It showed that the value of innovation in the country benefits more than Chinese patients," he said.

Lung cancer is the No 1 malignant tumor regarding both incidence and mortality rates in China. Nearly one in four cancer patients died of lung cancer in 2020, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Nearly 85 percent of lung cancer patients are categorized as sufferers of non-small cell lung cancer, according to experts.

Zhang Li, leader on the research group of the Phase-III clinical trials of the drug, said that this injection prolonged patients' progression-free survival for nearly nine months and reduced their risk of tumor progression by more than half.

"Market launch of the drug provided an opportunity for terminal-stage lung cancer patients to have a first-line therapy, a better option than existing chemotherapy," Zhang said.

The drug, co-developed by Eli Lilly and Innovent, was actually approved by the National Medical Products Administration to treat classical Hodgkin's lymphoma as its first indication in December 2018, and was the first PD-1 inhibitor to be involved in the country's national reimbursement drug list.

Source: China Daily

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