Ivonescimab Monotherapy Decisively Beats Pembrolizumab Monotherapy Head-to-Head, Achieves Statistically Significant Superiority in PFS in First-Line Treatment of Patients with PD-L1 Positive NSCLC

  • Monotherapy Ivonescimab Achieved Clinically Meaningful PFS Benefit in HARMONi-2 Trial Conducted by Akeso
  • PFS Improvement Was Observed Broadly in Patients Across Subgroups, including PD-L1 Low and PD-L1 High Expressing Tumors, Squamous and Non-Squamous Histologies
  • Full Data Set to be Presented at an Upcoming Major Medical Conference Planned for Later This Year
  • Unprecedented: Ivonescimab Is the First Drug to Achieve Clinically Meaningful Benefit over Pembrolizumab in Randomized Phase III Clinical Trial in NSCLC
  • Conference Call to be Held at 9:20am GMT+8 on Friday, May 31, 2024

HONG KONG, May 31, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Akeso, Inc. (HKEX: 9926.HK) (“Akeso,” “we,” or the “Company”) today announced that the Phase III clinical trial, HARMONi-2 or AK112-303, met its primary endpoint of progression-free survival (PFS). HARMONi-2 evaluated monotherapy ivonescimab against monotherapy pembrolizumab in patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have positive PD-L1 expression (PD-L1 TPS >1%). HARMONi-2 is a single region, multi-center, double-blinded Phase III study sponsored by Akeso with data generated and analyzed by Akeso.

At a prespecified interim analysis conducted by an independent Data Monitoring Committee, ivonescimab demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in PFS by blinded independent radiology review committee (BICR) compared to pembrolizumab. The PFS benefit was demonstrated across clinical subgroups, including those with PD-L1 low expression (PD-L1 TPS 1-49%), PD-L1 high expression (PD-L1 TPS >50%), squamous and non-squamous histologies, as well as other high-risk patients.

There are no known Phase III clinical trials in NSCLC which have shown a statistically significant improvement compared to pembrolizumab in a head-to-head setting.

The Phase III HARMONi-2 study, along with the approval of ivonescimab in China in combination with chemotherapy based on the results of the HARMONi-A trial, provides clear evidence supporting the purposefully-engineered, differentiated mechanism of action of ivonescimab, a PD-1 / VEGF bispecific antibody evidencing cooperative binding characteristics, and its opportunity to improve upon the existing standards of care for solid tumors.

“HARMONi-2 clearly demonstrates that ivonescimab has strong clinical values globally as well as commercial potentials.” stated Dr. Michelle Xia , Chairwoman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Akeso. “ivonescimab is the next generation in PD-1 directed immunotherapy, and its potential to make a significant difference in the lives of patients with lung cancer and prospectively other tumors.”

Conference Call

Akeso, Inc. (HKEX: 9926.HK) (“Akeso,” “we,” or the “Company”) will host a conference call to discuss recent updates related to ivonescimab on Friday May 31, 2024, before the market opens.  

About Ivonescimab

Ivonescimab, known as AK112 is a novel, potential first-in-class investigational bispecific antibody combining the effects of immunotherapy via a blockade of PD-1 with the anti-angiogenesis effects associated with blocking VEGF into a single molecule. Ivonescimab displays unique cooperative binding to each of its intended targets with higher affinity when in the presence of both PD-1 and VEGF.

This could differentiate ivonescimab as there is potentially higher expression (presence) of both PD-1 and VEGF in tumor tissue and the tumor microenvironment (TME) as compared to normal tissue in the body. Ivonescimab’s tetravalent structure (four binding sites) enables higher avidity (accumulated strength of multiple binding interactions) in the tumor microenvironment with over 18-fold increased binding affinity to PD-1 in the presence of VEGF in vitro, and over 4-times increased binding affinity to VEGF in the presence of PD-1 in vitro.[1] This tetravalent structure, the intentional novel design of the molecule, and bringing these two targets into a single bispecific antibody with cooperative binding qualities have the potential to direct ivonescimab to the tumor tissue versus healthy tissue. The intent of this design, together with a half-life of 6 to 7 days,[1] is to improve upon previously established efficacy thresholds, in addition to side effects and safety profiles associated with these targets. 

Ivonescimab was discovered by Akeso Inc. (HKEX Code: 9926.HK) and is currently engaged in multiple Phase III clinical trials. Over 1,600 patients have been treated with ivonescimab in clinical studies globally. Summit has begun its clinical development of ivonescimab in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), commencing enrollment in 2023 in two Phase III clinical trials, HARMONi and HARMONi-3.

The safety profile of ivonescimab is manageable and consistent with known risks for PD-1 and VEGF inhibiting drugs. In the first Phase III study to be presented at ASCO, “Ivonescimab combined with chemotherapy in patients with EGFR-mutant non-squamous NSCLC who progressed on EGFR TKI treatment (AK112-301): A randomized, double-blind, multi-center, phase 3 trial,” 5.6% of patient discontinues ivonescimab due to adverse events.

HARMONi is a Phase III clinical trial which intends to evaluate ivonescimab combined with chemotherapy compared to a placebo plus chemotherapy in patients with EGFR-mutated, locally advanced or metastatic non-squamous NSCLC who have progressed after treatment with a third-generation EGFR TKI (e.g., osimertinib).

HARMONi-3 is a Phase III clinical trial which is designed to evaluate ivonescimab combined with chemotherapy compared to pembrolizumab combined with chemotherapy in patients with first-line metastatic squamous NSCLC.

Ivonescimab is an investigational therapy that is not approved by any regulatory authority in Summit’s license territories, including the United States and Europe. Ivonescimab was approved for marketing authorization in China in May 2024.

About Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is believed to impact approximately 600,000 people across the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan.[2] NSCLC is the most prevalent type of lung cancer and represents approximately 80% to 85% of all incidences.[3] Among patients with non-squamous NSCLC, approximately 15% have EGFR-sensitizing mutations in the United States and Europe.[4] Patients with squamous histology represent approximately 25% to 30% of NSCLC patients.[5]

About Akeso, Inc.  

Akeso (HKEX: 9926.HK) is a leading biopharmaceutical company committed to the research, development, manufacturing and commercialization of the world’s first or best-in-class innovative biological medicines. Founded in 2012, the company has created a unique integrated R&D innovation system with the comprehensive end-to-end drug development platform (ACE Platform) and bi-specific antibody drug development technology (Tetrabody) as the core, a GMP-compliant manufacturing system and a commercialization system with an advanced operation mode, and has gradually developed into a globally competitive biopharmaceutical company focused on innovative solutions.

With fully integrated multi-functional platform, Akeso is internally working on a robust pipeline of over 50 innovative assets in the fields of cancer, autoimmune disease, inflammation, metabolic disease and other major diseases, with 19 drug candidates in the clinical stage ,including 8 multispecific antibodies. Akeso has successfully promoted the commercialization of three innovative biological drugs, and marketing applications of multiple indications are submitted for 4 new drugs.

For more information, please visit https://www.akesobio.com/en/.

[1] Zhong, et al, SITC 2023 

[2] American Cancer Society: www.cancer.org/cancer/types/lung-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Accessed April 2024; World Health Organization: International Agency for Research on Cancer, Globocan data by country (UK, Spain, France, Italy, Germany); Japan National Cancer Registry.  

[3] Schabath MB, Cote ML. Cancer Progress and Priorities: Lung Cancer. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. (2019).  

[4] About EGFR-Positive Lung Cancer | Navigating EGFR (lungevity.org).

[5] Schabath MB, Cote ML. Cancer Progress and Priorities: Lung Cancer. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. (2019). 

 

 

 

 

 

View original content to download multimedia: Read More