MEI Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: MEIP), a late-stage pharmaceutical company focused on advancing new therapies for cancer, and BeiGene, Ltd (Nasdaq: BGNE; HKEX: 06160), a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative molecularly-targeted and immuno-oncology drugs for the treatment of cancer, today announced a clinical collaboration to evaluate the safety and efficacy of MEI’s ME-401, an investigational PI3K delta inhibitor, in combination with BeiGene’s zanubrutinib, an investigational BTK inhibitor, for the treatment of patients with B-cell malignancies.
“We are excited to be working with BeiGene to explore the potential of ME-401 in combination with zanubrutinib,” said Robert Mass, M.D., chief medical officer of MEI Pharma. “Combinatorial approaches to fighting difficult to treat cancers historically have proven to be important in the delivery of better treatments to patients, and we believe that the data observed to date for ME-401, with its unique pharmaceutical properties, and for zanubrutinib support the evaluation of the combination for the treatment of patients with various B-cell malignancies.”
“Zanubrutinib is a potentially differentiated BTK inhibitor that is being globally developed in a number of B-cell malignancies both as a monotherapy and in combination. We look forward to exploring this interesting combination in patients with B-cell malignancies,” commented Jane Huang, M.D., chief medical officer, hematology, at BeiGene.
Under the terms of the clinical collaboration agreement, MEI will amend its ongoing Phase 1b trial to include evaluation of ME-401 in combination with zanubrutinib in patients with B-cell malignancies.
Study costs will be shared equally by the parties, and MEI will supply ME-401 and BeiGene will supply zanubrutinib. MEI will retain full commercial rights for ME-401 and BeiGene will retain full commercial rights for zanubrutinib.
ME-401 is an investigational oral phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (“PI3K”) delta inhibitor; PI3K delta is often overexpressed in cancer cells and plays a key role in the proliferation and survival of hematologic cancer cells. ME-401 displays high selectivity for the PI3K delta isoform and has distinct pharmaceutical properties from other PI3K delta inhibitors. It is being clinically evaluated in patients with various B-cell malignancies. MEI is initiating a Phase 2 study to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of ME-401as a single agent in patients with follicular lymphoma after failure of at least two prior systemic therapies including chemotherapy and an anti-CD20 antibody. The Phase 2 study is intended to support an accelerated approval marketing application with the U.S Food and Drug Administration.
Zanubrutinib (BGB-3111) is an investigational small molecule inhibitor of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) that is currently being evaluated in a broad pivotal clinical program globally and in China as a monotherapy and in combination with other therapies to treat various B cell malignancies.
About MEI Pharma
MEI Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: MEIP) is a San Diego-based pharmaceutical company focused on leveraging its extensive development and oncology expertise to identify and advance new therapies for cancer. The Company’s portfolio of drug candidates includes pracinostat, an oral HDAC inhibitor that is partnered with Helsinn Healthcare, SA. Pracinostat has been granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in combination with azacitidine for the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who are unfit for intensive chemotherapy. Pracinostat is also being developed in combination with azacitidine for the treatment of patients with high and very high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). MEI Pharma’s clinical development pipeline also includes ME-401, a highly differentiated oral PI3K delta inhibitor currently in a Phase 1b study in patients with relapsed refractory follicular lymphoma or CLL, and voruciclib, an oral, selective CDK inhibitor shown to suppress MCL1, a known mechanism of resistance to BCL2 inhibitors. The Company is also developing ME-344, a novel mitochondrial inhibitor currently in an investigator-initiated study in combination with bevacizumab evaluating patients with HER2-negative breast cancer. Pracinostat, ME-401, ME-344 and voruciclib are investigational agents and are not approved for use in the U.S. For more information, please visit www.meipharma.com.
BeiGene is a global, commercial-stage, research-based biotechnology company focused on molecularly-targeted and immuno-oncology cancer therapeutics. With a team of over 1,300 employees in China, the United States, Australia and Switzerland, BeiGene is advancing a pipeline consisting of novel oral small molecules and monoclonal antibodies for cancer. BeiGene is also working to create combination solutions aimed to have both a meaningful and lasting impact on cancer patients. BeiGene markets ABRAXANE® (nanoparticle albumin–bound paclitaxel), REVLIMID®(lenalidomide), and VIDAZA® (azacitidine) in China under a license from Celgene Corporation.
MEI Forward-Looking Statements
Under U.S. law, a new drug cannot be marketed until it has been investigated in clinical studies and approved by the FDA as being safe and effective for the intended use. Statements included in this press release that are not historical in nature are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You should be aware that our actual results could differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, which are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, our failure to successfully commercialize our product candidates; costs and delays in the development and/or FDA approval, or the failure to obtain such approval, of our product candidates; uncertainties or differences in interpretation in clinical trial results; our inability to maintain or enter into, and the risks resulting from our dependence upon, collaboration or contractual arrangements necessary for the development, manufacture, commercialization, marketing, sales and distribution of any products; competitive factors; our inability to protect our patents or proprietary rights and obtain necessary rights to third party patents and intellectual property to operate our business; our inability to operate our business without infringing the patents and proprietary rights of others; general economic conditions; the failure of any products to gain market acceptance; our inability to obtain any additional required financing; technological changes; government regulation; changes in industry practice; and one-time events. We do not intend to update any of these factors or to publicly announce the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements.
BeiGene Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other federal securities laws, including statements regarding the encouraging clinical data for zanubrutinib and BeiGene’s advancement of, and anticipated clinical development and regulatory milestones and plans related to zanubrutinib. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including BeiGene’s ability to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of its drug candidates; the clinical results for its drug candidates, which may not support further development or marketing approval; actions of regulatory agencies, which may affect the initiation, timing and progress of clinical trials and marketing approval; BeiGene’s ability to achieve commercial success for its marketed products and drug candidates, if approved; BeiGene’s ability to obtain and maintain protection of intellectual property for its technology and drugs; BeiGene’s reliance on third parties to conduct drug development, manufacturing and other services; BeiGene’s limited operating history and BeiGene’s ability to obtain additional funding for operations and to complete the development and commercialization of its drug candidates, as well as those risks more fully discussed in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in BeiGene’s most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q, as well as discussions of potential risks, uncertainties, and other important factors in BeiGene’s subsequent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. All information in this press release is as of the date of this press release, and BeiGene undertakes no duty to update such information unless required by law.
1 ABRAXANE®, REVLIMID®, and VIDAZA® are registered trademarks of Celgene Corporation.