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Lilly, Innovent's immune therapy for blood cancer gets Chinese approval

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Eli Lilly and Co. and Innovent Biologics Inc. said their drug Tyvyt was approved in China for treating classical Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.

China's National Medical Products Administration granted the nod to Tyvyt, or sintilimab, for treating patients whose classical Hodgkin's lymphoma did not respond to therapy or came back after two or more lines of systemic chemotherapy.

Tyvyt is an anti-PD-1 therapy, a cancer-targeting drug that blocks the PD-1 arm on healthy cells from linking up with a partner arm on the surface of cancer cells to spread the disease. The therapy's efficacy and safety was studied in the Orient-1 trial, Wang Li, senior vice president of Lilly China and head of Lilly China drug development and medical affairs, said in a news release.

Tyvyt is being tested in over 20 clinical trials, including studies in lung, gastric, liver and esophageal cancers.

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and China's Innovent Biologics are co-developing Tyvyt under a collaboration announced in March 2015. Under the deal, the companies agreed to develop and commercialize at least three cancer therapies over the next 10 years.