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A coming wave of Chinese cancer drugs could provide patients with cheaper alternatives to some celebrated and costly therapies, but to do that they will need to go up against some of the global pharmaceutical industry’s most lucrative and well-protected franchises.

Treatments known as checkpoint inhibitors that free the immune system to attack tumors have become blockbusters in recent years — Merck & Co.’s Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s Opdivo are cornerstones of a $150 billion global market.

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