NEW YORK – Cambridge, Massachusetts-based EQRx on Tuesday said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Health Service in England to secure access to its pipeline of cancer therapies following positive regulatory and cost-effectiveness analysis determinations.
Additionally, EQRx said that two of its cancer drugs, aumolertinib and sugemalimab, have received Innovation Passport designations within the Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway launched earlier this year. Drugs reviewed through this pathway are evaluated on an expedited time frame so they can reach patients faster.
"We're immensely proud to partner with the NHS, one of the largest public healthcare systems globally, who share our objective to bring innovative, cost-effective cancer medicines to patients in England," said EQRx CEO Melanie Nallicheri. "This MOU comes at a particularly exciting time, as our two lead pre-registrational cancer therapies, aumolertinib and sugemalimab, gain innovation passports as a first step towards securing approval and access through the UK's new Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway."
Aumolertinib, which EQRx is advancing with Hansoh Pharma, is already marketed in China under the brand name Ameile as a therapy for previously treated, EGFR T790M mutation-positive metastatic NSCLC patients. EQRx is conducting a Phase III trial, called AENEAS, to explore aumolertinib's activity as a first-line treatment for EGFR-mutated advanced NSCLC.
Sugemalimab is currently undergoing Phase III registration studies in stage III NSCLC, stage IV NSCLC, gastric cancer, and esophageal cancer. Chinese regulators are already reviewing a new drug application for the drug combined with chemotherapy as a first-line therapy for advanced squamous and non-squamous NSCLC.
According to EQRx, which holds global commercialization rights to both these drugs outside of China, its latest MOU with the NHS provides a pathway to market in England. "The NHS has a steadily growing pipeline of innovative, forward-thinking partnerships in areas such as heart disease, early detection of cancer and through this latest arrangement with EQRx, targeted cancer drugs," Lord David Prior, chair of NHS England, said in a statement. "The NHS will continue to seek opportunities to secure the latest innovations to improve patients' care, while also ensuring we are obtaining value for taxpayers."