First Bispecific Immunotherapy Approved in China

BeiGene BLINCYTO immunotherapy demonstrated superior overall survival versus chemotherapy
researcher working in a lab
China (Vax Before Cancer)

A commercial-stage biotechnology company announced that the China National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) has approved BLINCYTO® (blinatumomab) for injection for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory (R/R) B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

BeiGene, Ltd. announced the biologics license application (BLA) had been submitted by Amgen and received priority review by the Center for Drug Evaluation (CDE) of the NMPA. 

This is the first approval for BLINCYTO in China and BeiGene’s first product licensed from Amgen to be newly approved. With this approval, BLINCYTO has become the first bispecific immunotherapy approved in China.

“This approval of BLINCYTO provides us with an opportunity to offer adult patients in China with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL the first approved immunotherapy treatment for their disease,” commented Xiaobin Wu, Ph.D., General Manager of China and President of BeiGene, in a press release.

“BLINCYTO is the first immunotherapy to demonstrate superior overall survival versus chemotherapy, more than doubling patients’ chances for survival when used in first salvage R/R ALL in studies outside of China.” 

“We are working to ensure BLINCYTO is available to patients in China as soon as possible. Our commercial organization of more than 1,500 people in China is excited to add BLINCYTO to our product portfolio, which now includes six approved cancer treatments.”

The approval of BLINCYTO was based on results from the Phase 3 trial (NCT03476239) in China evaluating the efficacy and safety of BLINCYTO in adult patients with Philadelphia-negative R/R B-cell precursor ALL. 

Results of the interim analysis of 67 patients showed that the efficacy results in Chinese subjects were generally consistent with those in the global and Japan studies in subjects with Philadelphia-negative R/R ALL. 

The complete response with partial recovery of blood cells (CR/CRh) rate within two cycles of BLINCYTO treatment (the primary endpoint) was 47.8% (32 of 67 subjects; 95% CI: 35.4, 60.3). The median overall survival time was 9.6 months (95% CI: 6.4, not estimable). 

The safety profile observed for Chinese subjects in this study was consistent with that observed in the global studies evaluating BLINCYTO in R/R ALL. No new safety risks were identified based on these interim analyses of adverse events in Chinese subjects.

“Our collaboration with BeiGene is advancing Amgen’s oncology pipeline for patients with significant unmet medical needs. We are confident the approval of BLINCYTO in China has the potential to make a meaningful difference to adult patients with R/R B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia,” added My Linh Kha, Vice President & General Manager, Amgen Japan Asia-Pacific.

“We are deeply committed to continuing to bring therapeutic options to treat debilitating cancers for patients in China, while also actively supporting the Government’s focus on healthy aging through innovative products and initiatives designed to prevent chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and fragility fracture.”

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as acute lymphocytic leukemia, is a rapidly progressing cancer of the blood and bone marrow that occurs in both adults and children. ALL accounts for approximately 20% of all adult leukemia, and in children, the relapse rate of ALL is nearly 10%, while in adults the relapse rate is closer to 50%.

BLINCYTO is a bispecific CD19-directed CD3 T cell engager (BiTE®) immuno-oncology molecule that binds specifically to CD19 expressed on the surface of cells of B-lineage origin and CD3 expressed on the surface of T cells.

BiTE molecules are a type of immuno-oncology therapy being investigated for fighting cancer by helping the body's immune system to detect and target malignant cells. The modified molecules are designed to engage two different targets simultaneously, thereby juxtaposing T cells (a type of white blood cell capable of killing other cells perceived as threats) to cancer cells. 

BiTE immuno-oncology molecules help place the T cells within reach of the targeted cell, with the intent of allowing T cells to inject toxins and trigger the cancer cell to die (apoptosis). BiTE immuno-oncology therapies are currently being investigated for their potential to treat a wide variety of cancers.

BLINCYTO was previously granted breakthrough therapy and priority review designations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And, in the European Union, BLINCYTO is indicated as a monotherapy.

BeiGene is a global, commercial-stage biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing, manufacturing, and commercializing innovative medicines to improve treatment outcomes and access for patients worldwide.

Vax-Before-Cancer publishes research-based oncology news.