SHANGHAI, China and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., November 15, 2021 — Shanghai Junshi Biosciences Co., Ltd. (“Junshi Biosciences”, HKEX: 1877; SSE: 688180) and Coherus Biosciences, Inc. (“Coherus”, Nasdaq: CHRS) announced today that the United States Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has granted Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) for toripalimab for the treatment of esophageal cancer. Orphan drug designation is granted to drugs and biologics intended to treat rare diseases with a patient population less than 200,000 in the U.S. The designation provides incentives to advance development and commercialization of rare disease drugs.
Esophageal cancer (“EC”) is a malignant tumor originating in the inner lining of the esophagus. Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (“ESCC”) and adenocarcinoma are the two main subtypes of esophageal cancer. EC is rare in the United States, with approximately 19,000 newly diagnosed cases and 15,000 deaths annually, according to estimates from the American Cancer Society. The prognosis of patients with advanced EC is poor, with five-year survival rates of less than 20%.
In September, Junshi Biosciences and Coherus announced results of the Phase 3 clinical trial, JUPITER-06, a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating toripalimab in combination with chemotherapy as a first-line therapy for patients with advanced or metastatic ESCC. The study met the co-primary endpoints with statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) for patients treated with the toripalimab and chemotherapy combination, compared to chemotherapy alone. In 2022, Junshi Biosciences and Coherus are planning to submit a biologics license application (“BLA”) supplement to the FDA for toripalimab in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy for the first-line treatment of advanced or metastatic ESCC. A BLA for toripalimab for advanced recurrent or metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma is currently under priority review by the FDA with a target action date of April 2022.
Toripalimab is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody developed for its ability to block PD-1 interactions with its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, and for enhanced receptor internalization (endocytosis function). Blocking PD-1 interactions with PD-L1 and PD-L2 is thought to recharge the immune system’s ability to attack and kill tumor cells. More than thirty company-sponsored toripalimab clinical studies covering more than fifteen indications have been conducted globally, including in China, the United States, Southeast Asia, and European countries. Ongoing or completed pivotal clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of toripalimab cover a broad range of tumor types including cancers of the lung, nasopharynx, esophagus, stomach, bladder, breast, liver, kidney and skin.
In China, toripalimab was the first domestic anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody approved for marketing (approved in China as TUOYI®). On December 17, 2018, toripalimab was granted a conditional approval by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) for the second-line treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma. In December 2020, toripalimab was successfully included in the updated National Reimbursement Drug List. In February 2021, the NMPA granted a conditional approval to toripalimab for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (“NPC”) after failure of at least two lines of prior systemic therapy. In April, the NMPA granted a conditional approval to toripalimab for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who failed platinum-containing chemotherapy or progressed within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant platinum-containing chemotherapy. In addition, two supplemental NDAs, one for toripalimab in combination with chemotherapy for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced, recurrent or metastatic NPC, and the other for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced or metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, were accepted by the NMPA for review in February and July 2021, respectively.
In the United States, the FDA has granted priority review for the toripalimab BLA for the treatment of recurrent or metastatic NPC, an aggressive head and neck tumor which currently has no FDA-approved immuno-oncology treatment options. Earlier, the FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy designation for toripalimab in combination with chemotherapy for the 1st line treatment of recurrent or metastatic NPC as well as for toripalimab monotherapy in the second or third-line treatment of recurrent or metastatic NPC. Additionally, the FDA has granted Fast Track designation for toripalimab for the treatment of mucosal melanoma and orphan drug designation for esophageal cancer, NPC, mucosal melanoma and soft tissue sarcoma. Earlier in 2021, Coherus in-licensed rights to develop and commercialize toripalimab in the United States and Canada. Coherus and Junshi Biosciences plan to file additional toripalimab BLAs with the FDA over the next three years for multiple other cancer types.
About Coherus BioSciences
Coherus is a commercial stage biopharmaceutical company with the mission to increase access to cost-effective medicines that can have a major impact on patients’ lives and to deliver significant savings to the health care system. Coherus’ strategy is to build a leading immuno-oncology franchise funded with cash generated by its commercial biosimilar business. For additional information, please visit www.coherus.com.
Coherus markets UDENYCA® (pegfilgrastim-cbqv) in the United States and through 2023 expects to launch toripalimab, an anti-PD-1 antibody, as well as biosimilars of Lucentis®, Humira®, and Avastin®, if approved.
UDENYCA® is a trademark of Coherus BioSciences, Inc.
Avastin® and Lucentis® are registered trademarks of Genentech, Inc.
Humira® is a registered trademark of AbbVie Inc.