• Akeso Inc. to out-license to Summit Therapeutics exclusive rights to ivonescimab (PD-1/VEGF) for the development and commercialization in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Akeso Inc. will retain development and commercialization rights for the rest of the world including China.
  • Akeso Inc. to receive US$500 million upfront payment and the total potential deal value is up to US$5 billion including regulatory and commercial milestone payments. And Akeso will also receive low double-digit percentage of royalties on net product sales of ivonescimab . In addition, Dr. Michelle Xia will be appointed to the board of directors of Summit Therapeutics.
  • Agreement provides an expedited and winning pathway for ivonescimab’s global development by partnering with the world-class Summit Therapeutics team, who has the track record of successfully bringing over a dozen indications to market for the first-in-class blockbuster drug IMBRUVICA® (ibrutinib).
  • Agreement demonstrates the significant global commercial potential of ivonescimab and provide immediate cash proceeds to Akeso Inc. to further expedite its drug development and other strategic initiatives.

MENLO PARK, CA, USA and GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands I December 6, 2022 I Akeso Inc. (HKEX Code: 9926.HK, “Akeso”, or the “Company”), a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing first-in-class and best-in-class innovative medicines globally, today announced a collaboration and license agreement (the “Agreement”) with Summit Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SMMT) (the “Summit”), to out-license its breakthrough bispecific antibody, ivonescimab (PD-1/VEGF, AK112) for development and commercialization in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan (the “License Territories”). In addition, the Company will co-brand the product in the License Territories.

Ivonescimab, known as AK112 in China and Australia and also as SMT112 in the License Territories, is a novel, potential first-in-class bispecific antibody independently developed by the Company. Ivonescimab combines the power of immunotherapy via a blockade of PD-1 with the anti-angiogenesis benefits of an anti-VEGF into a single molecule. It is our belief that the novel design has the potential to reduce side effects and safety concerns. Ivonescimab is believed to be the PD-1 / VEGF bispecific antibody that is most advanced in the clinic: there are no known PD-1-based bispecific antibodies approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) or the European Medicines Agency (“EMA”).

Currently, Akeso is conducting a phase III clinical trial of ivonescimab monotherapy versus pembrolizumab monotherapy as the first-line treatment for NSCLC patients with positive PD-L1 expression. In addition, a phase III clinical trial of Ivonescimab plus chemotherapy versus chemotherapy in EGFR mutated advanced non-squamous NSCLC that failed in prior EGFR-TKI therapy is ongoing. Ivonescimab has received breakthrough therapy designation status in China from the NMPA for three indications: the two aforementioned indications, as well as combined with docetaxel for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC patients who failed to prior PD-(L)1 inhibitor combined with platinum-based doublet chemotherapy.

As presented at ASCO 2022, ivonescimab treatment was associated with an overall response rate (ORR) in a Phase II study in patients with NSCLC who have failed EGFR-TKI’s of 68.4% and a median Progression-Free Survival (mPFS) time period of 8.2 months when combined with combination chemotherapy (pemetrexed and carboplatin) as compared to historical mPFS of 4.3 months in patients treated with combination chemotherapy (pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy) alone, the current standard of care. In a separate cohort, ivonescimab combined with docetaxel in patients who have failed PD-(L)1 and chemo therapies demonstrated a mPFS of 6.6 months as compared to a historical mPFS of 4.5 months with docetaxel alone, a current standard of care regimen for these patients. The study which similarly had patients receiving ivonescimab plus chemotherapy as their first line therapy for metastatic disease, was considered to have demonstrated a tolerable safety profile and a low discontinuation rate for adverse events. 

“Ivonescimab has demonstrated the potential to deliver superior clinical benefit for patients.” said Dr. Michelle Xia, co-founder, Chairwoman, CEO, and President of Akeso, “The Akeso team has been dedicated to the development of ivonescimab in the past 8 years and advanced the molecule to the clinical Phase III stage. The global value of ivonescimab awaits great work from a great team to realize. We are so pleased to partner with the world-class Summit team, who has the track record of successfully bringing over a dozen indications to market for the first-in-class blockbuster drug IMBRUVICA® (ibrutinib). Following intense and in-depth strategic, scientific, and operational discussion on ivonescimab between the Akeso and Summit teams in recent months, we are more confident than ever on a winning path for ivonescimab’s global development. With this tremendous momentum, we look forward to the swift execution of clinical development and commercial plan in a global setting for ivonescimab.”

“The partnership between Summit and Akeso is a strategically compelling opportunity,” stated Robert W. Duggan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Summit. “It represents bringing together Akeso’s extraordinary team, which has built an innovation engine capable of creating novel bispecific technologies, and the talented members of team Summit with their proven track record of success of global clinical development, regulatory approvals, and commercialization, particularly in oncology. We believe the potential exists for enormous creation through this partnership. We are extremely encouraged by ivonescimab and the potential for improving the quality and duration of patients’ lives based on clinical data to support this point. Summit team is honored and enthusiastic to partner with Akeso. Our shared mission and vision are to create a significant difference for the betterment of patient healthcare outcomes around the world.”

“After reviewing a substantial number of opportunities, much of which was focused on potential treatments for solid tumors, we have found the ideal partnership with the potential to change the paradigm for treating patients facing difficult odds with devastating diagnoses,” added Dr. Maky Zanganeh, Co-Chief Executive Officer, President, and a member of Summit’s Board of Directors. “Ten years ago, metastatic lung cancer patients rarely survived for more than ten to twelve months from diagnosis. Today, survival can be measured in years. Our goal is to improve the quality of life of a patient facing immeasurable odds while extending the duration of that patient’s life. Our focus is always on how we can improve the lives of patients. We sought patient-friendly medicinal therapies through our search to expand our pipeline portfolio, and we are proud to take this meaningful step towards accomplishing this goal. We have significant work to do, but we are steadfastly committed to bringing ivonescimab into the hands of patients who need it most. We are thrilled to reach this agreement with Michelle and the team at Akeso, and we are excited to make this vision a reality. I am proud of Summit team who have diligently worked these past few months to establish a strong bond with the team at Akeso, and I would like to thank the talented people of Team Akeso for spending so much quality time creating this meaningful partnership.”

Under the terms of the Agreement, Akeso will receive US$500 million upfront payment and the total potential deal value is up to US$5 billion including regulatory and commercial milestone payments. And Akeso will also receive low double-digit percentage of royalties on net product sales of ivonescimab. The Summit will receive the exclusive rights to develop and commercialize ivonescimab (SMT112) in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Akeso will retain development and commercialization rights for the rest of the world including China. In addition, Dr. Michelle Xia will be appointed as one member of the board of directors of Summit. The deal is subject to customary closing practices, including applicable waiting periods under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act.

About Akeso Inc.

Akeso (HKEX: 09926) is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to the discovery, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of innovative medicines with high unmet medical needs worldwide. Founded in 2012, the company has established a comprehensive in-house drug development platform (ACE Platform) and know-how, including R&D, clinical development, CMC (Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls), and commercialization capabilities. With fully integrated multi-functional platform, Akeso is internally working on a robust pipeline of over 30 innovative assets in the fields of cancer, autoimmune disease, inflammation, metabolic disease, and other major therapeutic areas. 17 assets have entered clinical stage. Leveraging in-house developed bispecific platform technology (“Tetrabody technology”), the company has advanced four potential first-in-class bispecific antibody drugs into market or clinical development, including cadonilimab (PD-1/CTLA-4), ivonescimab (PD-1/VEGF), PD-1/LAG-3, and TIGIT/TGF-Beta bispecific antibodies. In June 2022, cadonilimab was approved by the NMPA and became the first commercialized PD-1 based bispecific drug globally. Another Akeso internally discovered and developed oncology product, penpulimab (a PD-1 antibody), was granted marketing approval in China in August 2021. Akeso is listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited.

About Summit Therapeutics

Summit was founded in 2003 and our shares are listed on the Nasdaq Global Market (symbol ‘SMMT’). We are headquartered in Menlo Park, California, and we have additional offices in Oxford, UK and Cambridge, UK.

For more information, please visit https://www.summittxinc.com and follow us on Twitter @summitplc.