Kite Pharma, founded in 2009, is dedicated to the development and commercialization of novel cancer immunotherapy products designed to harness the power of a patient’s own immune system to fight tumor cells.
Kite’s lead programs are in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and are being studied through the NCI’s Surgery Branch led by Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD, who has pioneered immunotherapy approaches for cancer for more than two decades.
This research has resulted in breakthrough clinical findings, including results from an NCI Phase 1/2a trial being presented at this year’s American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting. Based on this progress and momentum, Kite plans to initiate a company-sponsored multicenter clinical program in aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with additional filings expected for other eACT™ products in diverse oncology indications.
Engineered Adoptive Cell Therapy Product Platform
Engineered Autologous Cell Therapy (eACT™), in which a patient’s own white blood cells are genetically engineered to recognize and destroy their cancer upon reinfusion, has been shown to produce substantial durable responses for a variety of blood and solid tumors that are resistant to chemotherapy. Kite Pharma has developed a platform technology, supported by a robust pipeline of cancer targeting gene therapy vectors, to dramatically broaden the availability of eACT™ for patients beyond academic medical centers and cancer institutes.
Kite Pharma has proprietary technologies – both T cell receptors (TCR) and chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) – through a Cooperative Research Agreement (CRADA) with the NCI that provides for this vector pipeline. Kite Pharma scientists have simplified the genetic engineering platform technology to improve quality control and shorten the time required from manufacture to treatment for these personalized, targeted clinical grade cell products.
Lead Clinical Programs
Kite’s lead product is a CAR T cell therapy that targets the CD19 antigen on B cell malignancies. In an ongoing Phase 1/2a trial being conducted by the NCI in patients with B cell leukemia or aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that is highly resistant to chemotherapy, long-lasting tumor shrinkage has been demonstrated in the majority of patients. These encouraging results highlight eACT™ as an emerging therapeutic modality that could provide new personalized targeted therapy options for cancer patients spanning the spectrum of disease from its early stages to the salvage setting. Kite Pharma plans to initiate multicenter clinical trials for this product as well as other eACT products currently being studied by the Surgery Branch of the NCI. In addition to blood cancers, eACT shows promise in advanced solid tumors.
The Kite Pharma management team, including Executive Chairman and Founder Arie Belldegrun, MD, and Keith Nolop, MD, Chief Medical Officer, are highly experienced with a proven track record of successfully developing and bringing to market both first-in-class and best-in-class oncology target therapies, such as abiraterone (Zytiga®) for prostate cancer, and vemurafenib (Zelboraf®) for melanoma. Kite is in a financially strong position and is supported by sophisticated investors and world-class medical and scientific advisory boards.