Alrizomadlin(APG-115) Granted RPD by the US FDA in Neuroblastoma

SUZHOU, China, and ROCKVILLE, MD., Mar. 22, 2022 — Ascentage Pharma (6855.HK), a global biopharmaceutical company engaged in developing novel therapies for cancers, chronic hepatitis B (CHB), and age-related diseases, today announced that its novel MDM2-p53 inhibitor, alrizomadlin (APG-115), was granted a  Rare Pediatric Disease (RPD) designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for the treatment of neuroblastoma. To date, alrizomadlin has received a total of six Orphan Drug Designations (ODDs) and two RPDs by the FDA.

The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA), came into effect in 2012, established the rare pediatric disease priority review voucher (PRV) program to reward sponsors for the development of novel therapies for the treatment of rare pediatric diseases. FDASIA defines RPDs as rare diseases or conditions (diseases with a prevalence of less than 200,000 patients in the US) primarily affecting individuals aged from birth to 18 years, including age groups from neonates, infants, children, to adolescents. Being qualified for the PRV is one of the main benefits of the RPD designation, as sponsors who are rewarded with the PRV are eligible for priority review of future New Drug Applications or Biologics License Applications, and they may also choose to have the PRV transferred to another sponsor, at an estimated value around several hundred million US dollars.

Neuroblastoma is a type of embryonic tumor arising from the peripheral sympathetic nervous system. It is the most common extracranial solid tumor in children and the third most common pediatric cancer1. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), there are about 700 to 800 new cases of neuroblastoma each year in the United States. This number has remained about the same for many years. Due to its aggressive nature and high risk of metastasis, neuroblastoma accounts for up to 15% of all deaths caused by pediatric cancers2. It is mostly diagnosed in infancy with 41% of patients diagnosed in the first three months after birth, and most patients are diagnosed by the age of 5 years with a median age of diagnosis around 18 months3.

Neuroblastoma is a serious condition that can be life-threatening to pediatric patients. Patients diagnosed as low-risk usually have a good prognosis. However, those diagnosed with high-risk disease are difficult to cure, with a large proportion of these patients eventually experiencing disease recurrence. Despite intense multimodal treatments, patients with high-risk neuroblastoma have a poor prognosis with an Event-Free Survival (EFS) of less than 50%. Patients with relapsed or refractory neuroblastoma are extremely difficult to cure, and there is no standard treatment for these patients.

Being developed by Ascentage Pharma, alrizomadlin is an orally administered, selective, small-molecule inhibitor of the MDM2 protein. Alrizomadlin has strong binding affinity to MDM2 and is designed to activate tumor suppression activity of p53 by blocking the MDM2-p53 protein-protein interaction. In earlier studies, APG-115 as a single agent has shown antitumor activity in in vitro and in vivo models of neuroblastoma, demonstrating a mechanism of action that supports the clinical development of the drug candidate in patients with neuroblastoma.

Dr. Dajun Yang, Chairman & CEO of Ascentage Pharma, said, “In addition to the benefits provided by the ODD, the RPD designation offers sponsors the additional incentive of priority review status for their future marketing applications, encourages the drug development for the treatment of rare pediatric diseases. Alrizomadlin is a key drug candidate in our apoptosis-targeted pipeline. It has already been granted six ODDs, one Fast Track Designation (FTD), and two RPDs by the US FDA, thus signifies this asset’s clinical potential. This RPD will qualify this program for a PRV, which should help us better communicate with the FDA to hopefully accelerate the clinical development of alrizomadlin. We will initiate the clinical study in neuroblastoma as soon as possible in order to develop a new treatment option for those pediatric patients in need.”


  1. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2014. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer
  2. Ward E, DeSantis C, et al. Childhood and adolescent cancer statistics, 2014. CA Cancer J Clin. Mar-Apr 2014;64(2):83-103.
  3. Shohet J, Foster J. Neuroblastoma. BMJ. 2017 May 3;357:j1863.

About Ascentage Pharma

Ascentage Pharma (6855.HK) is a globally focused biopharmaceutical company engaged in developing novel therapies for cancers, chronic hepatitis B, and age-related diseases. On October 28, 2019, Ascentage Pharma was listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited with the stock code 6855.HK.


Ascentage Pharma focuses on developing therapeutics that inhibit protein-protein interactions to restore apoptosis, or programmed cell death. The company has built a pipeline of eight clinical drug candidates, including novel, highly potent Bcl-2, and dual Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitors, as well as candidates aimed at IAP and MDM2-p53 pathways, and next-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Ascentage Pharma is also the only company in the world with active clinical programs targeting all three known classes of key apoptosis regulators. The company is conducting more than 50 Phase I/II clinical trials in the US, Australia, Europe, and China. Olverembatinib, the company’s core drug candidate developed for the treatment of drug-resistant chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), was granted Priority Review status and a Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) by the Center for Drug Evaluation (CDE) of China National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), and is already approved for the indication. In addition, the olverembatinib was also granted an Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) and a Fast Track Designation (FTD) by the US FDA, and an Orphan Designation by the EU. To date, Ascentage Pharma has obtained a total of 15 ODDs, 2 FTDs and 2 Rare Pediatric Disease (RPD) designations from the US FDA and 1 ODD from the EU for four of the company’s investigational drug candidates. Ascentage Pharma has been designated for multiple Major National R&D Projects, including five National Major New Drug Discovery and Manufacturing projects, one New Drug Incubator status, four Innovative Drug Programs, and one Major Project for the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases.


Leveraging its robust R&D capabilities, Ascentage Pharma has built a portfolio of global intellectual property rights and entered into global partnerships with numerous renowned biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and research institutes such as UNITY Biotechnology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, MSD, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer. The company has built a talented team with global experience in the discovery and development of innovative drugs and is setting up its world-class commercial manufacturing and Sales & Marketing teams. One pivotal aim of Ascentage Pharma is to continuously strengthen its R&D capabilities and accelerate its clinical development programs, in order to fulfil its mission of addressing unmet clinical needs in China and around the world for the benefit of more patients.


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