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Jiangsu Hengrui's cancer drug wins approval in China

Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co. Ltd. received approval from the National Medical Products Administration to market cancer drug camrelizumab in China.

Camrelizumab belongs to a class of cancer drugs known as PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors. PD-1 drugs work by blocking interactions between tumor cells and T cells, a key component of the immune system, enabling the immune system to detect and kill cancer cells more effectively.

The drug has been approved for patients with hard-to-treat Hodgkin's lymphoma and have undergone chemotherapy treatments, the company said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Hodgkin's lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates from white blood cells called lymphocytes.

Jiangsu Hengrui spent 504.31 million Chinese yuan on the research and development of camrelizumab, conducting more than 50 clinical trials on the drug for 12 indications, including liver cancer and lung cancer.

Chinese regulators gave the nod to four PD-1 drugs in 2018: Merck & Co. Inc.'s Keytruda, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Opdivo, Innovent Biologics Inc.'s Tyvyt and Shanghai Junshi Biosciences Co. Ltd.'s Tuo Yi.

Sales of PD-1 drugs totaled about $6.44 million in China in 2018.

As of May 30, US$1 was equivalent to about 6.90 Chinese yuan.

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