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Takeda to acquire worldwide marketing rights except China for Hutchmed’s oral anti-cancer drug

Japanese pharmaceutical major Takeda has announced recently that it has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with China’s Hutchmed to market the latter’s  Fruquintinib, an oral drug for treating metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC), worldwide except in China.

Under the terms of the agreement, Takeda will pay Hutchmed 400 million dollars upfront and pay up to an additional 730 million dollars as milestone payments, as well as royalties on net sales, Takeda said in a statement.

The drug, already approved in china in 2018, is expected to undergo an approval process in the EU and the USA in 2023, which will strengthen the company’s  growing oncology portfolio, Takeda said.

Announcing the agreement, Beresa Bitetti, President of the Global Oncology Business Unit at Takeda, said, “Fruquintinib has the potential to change the treatment landscape for patients with refractory metastatic CRC who need additional treatment options.”

“We look forward to utilising our development and commercial capabilities to expand the potential of this innovative medicine to patients beyond China,” she added.

“Working with HUTCHMED will enable us to expand our oncology portfolio, bringing us one step closer to achieving our aspiration to cure cancer,” she further added.

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Commenting on the development, said Dr Weiguo Su, Huchmed’s executive director said, “We are pleased to be partnering with a company that shares our mission to improve treatment outcomes for cancer patients and has the scale and expertise in global drug development and commercialisation to advance fruquintinib globally outside of China.”

The companies said that the results of the multi-regional Phase 3 clinical trial of fruquintinib in refractory metastatic CRC, which met its primary endpoint of improving overall survival in patients with metastatic CRC, were presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress in September 2022.

It may be recalled that the United States Food and Drug Administration granted Fast Track designation for the development of fruquintinib for treating patients with metastatic CRC in 2020.

CRC is the third most prevalent cancer worldwide, and according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in 2020 the disease has been associated with 935,000 deaths globally.

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