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Hutchmed refocuses strategy away from early-stage studies

By Josh White

Date: Tuesday 15 Nov 2022

Hutchmed refocuses strategy away from early-stage studies

(Sharecast News) - Hutchmed China updated the market on its strategy on Tuesday, following an "in-depth evaluation" of the business.
The AIM-traded firm said that in response to "challenging" market conditions affecting the global biopharmaceutical sector, it had taken a number of decisions aimed at accelerating its path to profitability, and establishing a long-term, sustainable business.

It said it was proactively making a "strategic shift" to focus on the most advanced assets from its internal developed pipeline, that were most likely to drive near-term value.

As a result, Hutchmed said it would prioritise its late-stage and registrational studies to focus on bringing those assets through regulatory approval, with particular focus on the global registration of fruquintinib.

Selected early-stage studies would not be prioritised for internal development, and others would be considered as candidates for out-licensing opportunities, enabling the company to focus resources on its later-stage assets.

As some related clinical trials wound down, Hutchmed said it remained committed to ethical practices, with patient care continuing to be its "top priority".

Hutchmed added that it would seek potential partnerships to commercialise its assets outside of China, to accelerate the availability of innovative medicines for patients globally.

The company said it would provide updates in due course, with detailed decisions on specific programmes and progress to streamline the organisation, redeploying key talent in support of registrational studies and regulatory submissions.

In light of its strategic shift, the board said executive vice-president, head of research and development and chief medical officer in China, Dr Michael Shi, would become responsible for clinical development globally.

Under Dr Shi's leadership, Hutchmed said it would remain "highly focussed" on the regulatory submission and further development for fruquintinib, its lead international asset, following the successful multi-regional clinical trial results achieved in August from the 'FRESCO-2' study, including its upcoming US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new drug application filing.

As part of the change, vice-president, managing director and international chief medical officer Dr Marek Kania would "transition out" of his role with Hutchmed.

"We believe that these prudent actions will ensure that we accelerate our path to profitability and therefore establish a sustainable business to support our future success," said Dr Weiguo Su, chief executive and scientific officer and executive director.

"The challenging market conditions affecting biopharmaceutical companies across the globe require companies to be disciplined in their approach and, like many other companies, we have decided to make adjustments now to enable us to focus on the development of the products in our late-stage pipeline."

Dr Su said the firm;s vision of becoming a global biopharmaceutical company was unchanged, but said it expected to fulfil the strategy by commercialisation outside China primarily through partnerships.

"Regardless, we will continue to invest in global development to reach our goal of bringing innovative medicines to patients worldwide."

At 1118 GMT, shares in Hutchmed China were down 1.11% at 188.88p.

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.


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