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EYE on CHINA
CANbridge Life Sciences enters into agreement with Azaya Therapeutics to develop ATI-1123 for lung cancer in China and North Asia
C ANbridge Life Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing Western drug candidates in China and North Asia has entered into a partnership with Azaya Therapeutics in San Antonio, Texas, to develop and commercialize Azaya’s investigational drug, ATI-1123, for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, and potentially other solid tumor cancer indications, in China and North Asia. ATI-1123, a liposomal formulation of docetaxel, has completed a FDA-approved Phase I trial in 29 patients with solid tumor cancers who had failed on other therapies. Phase II trials in the United States are planned in non-small cell lung cancer, gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer and soft-tissue sarcoma.

Under the terms of the agreement, CANbridge obtains exclusive rights to clinically develop and commercialize ATI-1123 in China, Taiwan and South Korea. Upon ATI-1123’s successful approval in the above territories, CANbridge plans to manufacture the product locally and to supply the region via a technology transfer arrangement. CANbridge will be responsible for financing the development and commercialization of ATI-1123 in the territories and will pay Azaya milestones and royalties at defined stages of the partnership. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“CANbridge’s mission is to translate promising Western clinical-stage product candidates, that could provide true value, to Chinese and Asian patients with serious medical conditions underserved by current treatments,” said CANbridge founder and CEO, James Xue. “As the founder of Genzyme China and a former Genzyme General Manager, I’ve observed first-hand that lung cancer treatments in China are far from satisfactory. We are therefore delighted to announce Azaya Therapeutics, an emerging leader in nanotechnology drug delivery, as our first partner.

“In China, over two-thirds of the newly diagnosed lung cancer patients are not eligible for surgery,” Mr. Xue went on. Their only options are chemotherapy and radiation. We are racing against time to develop and deliver a more effective treatment to Chinese and Asian lung cancer patients. We see ATI-1123 as a promising potential new treatment in this underserved Asian market.”

Lung cancer is the most common solid-tumor cancer in China in both incidence and mortality. In 2012, a national conference reported that at least 700,000 Chinese patients were diagnosed with lung cancer, annually. Over the past 30 years, incidence of lung cancer increased almost five-fold, primarily caused by smoking and pollution. The mortality rate also jumped almost 500%, during the same time period, due to lack of effective treatment.

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