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ASCO conference: Innovent's Tyvyt shows promise in aggressive blood cancer

Innovent Biologics Inc. said its drug Tyvyt showed promise in a phase 2 clinical trial in patients with extranodal NK/T cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.

Results from the Orient-4 study showed the drug reduced the cancer in 67.9% of participants of the study, or 19 out of 28 patients — a metric known as objective response rate and the trial's main goal. The subjects in the study, which was situated in China, had cancers that came back or have progressed following three conventional treatments.

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Tyvyt, a drug the Chinese drugmaker is co-developing with Eli Lilly and Co., is part of a class of tumor-targeting therapies called checkpoint inhibitors. The drugs block the PD-1 arm on healthy cells from linking up with a partner arm on the surface of cancer cells to spread the disease.

Extranodal NK/T cell lymphoma is an aggressive type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that accounts for over 20% of peripheral T cell lymphomas in Asia.

Disease control rate was 85.7%, while 82.1% of patients stayed alive after a year — also known as overall survival. Historical data shows that the overall survival for the disease is 6 months, Innovent said in a news release.

Tyvyt is already approved in China for treating classical Hodgkin's lymphoma. Innovent is also evaluating sintilimab in clinical trials in the U.S.

Innovent CFO Ronnie Ede previously told S&P Global Market Intelligence that the company sold 19,000 units of Tyvyt in the first three weeks following the product's launch in the first quarter of 2019. The therapy was priced about 60% lower than the cost of Merck & Co. Inc.'s PD-1 drug Keytruda.

The 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting is expected to bring together more than 32,000 professionals from around the world, with more than 2,400 study abstracts to be presented on site and an additional 3,200 abstracts to be published online.