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Cancer Research Highlight: BeiGene Also Showed Up At ASH With Potentially Crucial Checkpoint Data

Dec. 05, 2018 8:00 AM ETBeiGene, Ltd. (BGNE)BMY, MRK, REGN, SGEN8 Comments
Zach Hartman profile picture
Zach Hartman


  • BeiGene continued to surprise with a rare update of its PD-1 program at ASH 2018.
  • Early data suggest that their PD-1 inhibitor has the potential to be a best-in-class therapy.
  • Approval in Hodgkin is likely in China, but is that enough to warrant a buy?

Please note that I am affiliated with Avisol Capital Partners and their Total Pharma Tracker service. They have also covered the companies in this article in their writings, and I wanted to make readers aware of the potential for overlapping coverage.

BeiGene (NASDAQ:BGNE) is a Chinese biotech company looking to become a juggernaut by developing its own versions of established targeted and immunologic therapies. Recently, I highlighted findings presented by the company at the 2018 American Society for Hematology Meeting for its ibrutinib-mimicking drug zanabrutinib. BGNE was able to show some highly promising results in mantle cell lymphoma, likely supporting their approval in China, and possibly elsewhere in the world.

But one of BGNE's big draws, aside from its massive cash coffers after two IPOs, is the depth of its pipeline. Arguably, the crown jewel is a drug called tislelizumab, which targets PD-1, similar to peers developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Merck (MRK), and Regeneron (REGN) (those would be nivolumab, pembrolizumab, and cemiplimab, respectively). BGNE has high hopes of being a pioneer in the use of these agents in China, a therapeutic market that has long been insulated from foreign companies.

The news

BGNE presented findings from its pivotal phase 2 study for tislelizumab in relapsed/refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma at the 2018 American Society for Hematology (ASH) Congress.

Patients experienced an overall response rate of 86%, with 61% reaching a complete response. The median duration of response has not yet been reached, with 84% of patients remaining disease free after 9 months. Furthermore, as with other PD-1 antibodies, tislelizumab was well tolerated, with low-grade systemic effects being predominant (eg, fatigue, weight gain, pyrexia).

These are the findings that went into the New Drug Application that went to Chinese regulators and was accepted for review earlier this year.

Looking forward


This article was written by

Zach Hartman profile picture
I am a former PhD scientist-turned-writer focused on cancer education. My writings in Seeking Alpha have been devoted to helping people identify promising investment opportunities in cancer research through commentary of recent events. Readers can learn more about other aspects of cancer research by visiting my site Invest Against Cancer.I also collaborate with Avisol Capital Partners on their Marketplace service known as the Total Pharma Tracker (TPT). Some of my work will be available to TPT subscribers either exclusively, or in advance. If you are interested, please click the link above!

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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