Chi-Med steps closer to Chinese pharma first with drug filing

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[June 12, 2017] LONDON (Reuters) - Hutchison China MediTech, the Shanghai-based drugmaker listed in London, is a step closer to winning approval for a modern drug developed in a Chinese lab with the submission of its cancer medicine fruquintinib to China's drug watchdog.

The company, controlled by Li Ka-shing's CK Hutchison group, said on Monday the China Food and Drug Administration would now review the drug as a treatment for advanced colorectal cancer.

The move triggers a milestone payment of $4.5 million from U.S. partner Eli Lilly to the Chinese firm, which is commonly known as Chi-Med.

Chi-Med and Lilly also aim to win approval for fruquintinib in the United States, which would make it the first modern drug developed in China to be sold on the international market.

Hopes for the drug, which starves tumors of blood supply, received a major boost in March when a late-stage clinical trial produced strongly positive results in colon cancer, lifting Chi-Med shares.

The drug is also being developed for non-small cell lung cancer and another study in gastric cancer is due to start soon.

Chi-Med shares were up 1.1 percent in early London trading on Monday.

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(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Jason Neely)

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