China NMPA approves tislelizumab for patients with second-line esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

The China National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) has granted approval to BeiGene’s anti-PD-1 antibody, tislelizumab, as a treatment for patients with locally advanced or metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) who have disease progression or are intolerant to first-line standard chemotherapy.

“As a second-line treatment for patients with ESCC, this differentiated checkpoint inhibitor demonstrated significant improvements in overall survival and was generally well-tolerated in our Phase 3 trial of tislelizumab,” commented Mark Lanasa, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, Solid Tumors, at BeiGene.

“Tislelizumab regulatory submissions in this indication submitted by Novartis are under review by the U.S. FDA and the European Medicines Agency, highlighting our commitment to advancing its progress on behalf of the many patients around the world with ESCC and other forms of cancer.”

“With eight approved indications in China, our science-based commercial team of more than 3,100+ professionals is working to make tislelizumab more broadly available to those in China who may benefit from this important immunotherapy,” said Xiaobin Wu, Ph.D., President, Chief Operating Officer, and General Manager of China, at BeiGene. “Today’s approval is a great step for patients in China with ESCC.”

“The NMPA’s approval of tislelizumab is welcome news to patients with previously treated ESCC, for whom we are pleased to now be able to provide this new treatment option,” said Lin Shen, Vice President of Clinical Oncology, Beijing Cancer Hospital, and the principal investigator of the trial. “The global Phase 3 clinical trial of tislelizumab demonstrated positive safety and efficacy outcomes as a second-line treatment for patients with ESCC, one of the most common malignant tumors in the digestive tract.”

This approval was supported by clinical results from a randomized, open-label, multi-center, global Phase 3 clinical trial, RATIONALE 302 (NCT03430843), to evaluate the efficacy and safety of tislelizumab as a second-line treatment for patients with locally advanced or metastatic ESCC compared to chemotherapy.

The primary endpoint of this trial is overall survival (OS) in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population; a key secondary endpoint is OS in patients with high PD-L1 expression (defined as visually-estimated combined positive score [vCPS] ≥10%); and other secondary endpoints include progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate (ORR), duration of response (DoR), and safety. A total of 512 patients were enrolled in the trial in 11 countries and regions in Asia, Europe, and North America, randomized 1:1 to either the tislelizumab arm or chemotherapy arm (investigator’s choice of paclitaxel, docetaxel, or irinotecan). Results of this trial were presented at the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

Tislelizumab is also under regulatory review in the U.S. and the European Union, submitted by Novartis in their licensed territories, as a second-line treatment for patients with locally advanced or metastatic ESCC.

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