SANTA MONICA, Calif., April 6, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Kite Pharma, Inc. (Kite) (KITE), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing engineered autologous T cell therapy (eACT(TM)) products for the treatment of cancer, today announced articles being published in the current issue of Science, one article by the Company’s Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) collaborators at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the second article by the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI). The first article, “Adoptive Cell Transfer as personalized immunotherapy for human cancer,” was authored by Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of Surgery at the NCI, and his colleague Nicholas P. Restifo, M.D., Senior Investigator at NCI’s Surgery Branch. The second article, “Neoantigens in cancer immunotherapy,” was written by Professor Dr. Ton N. M. Schumacher, Ph.D., Deputy Director of NKI, and Robert D. Schreiber, Ph.D., Director, Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs, at Washington University School of Medicine. Professor Schumacher also serves as Chief Scientific Officer of Kite Pharma EU.
In their article, Drs. Rosenberg and Restifo reviewed the development of adoptive cell therapy, including the advent of genetically modified T cells and their promising results in patients with multiple tumor types. Last month, Kite announced an expansion of its CRADA with the Surgery Branch at the NCI, led by Dr. Rosenberg. The amendment encompasses emerging areas of research in the immune response to tumor neoantigens, in addition to new T cell receptor (TCR) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) product candidates targeting solid tumors.
Also, in March, Kite acquired T-Cell Factory B.V. (TCF(TM)), a privately held Dutch company founded by preeminent scientists, including Professor Schumacher and Professor Dr. Dirk H. Busch, M.D., of the Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM). The acquisition of TCF greatly expands Kite’s TCR product platform to discover and develop TCR-based product candidates for the treatment of solid tumors, complementing Kite’s CAR pipeline. TCF was renamed Kite Pharma EU and provides a base for Kite to build its global presence.
In their review article, Professor Schumacher and Dr. Schreiber described breakthrough patient-specific neoantigen research, including the targeting of multiple neoantigens to augment patient responses. According to the authors, “Because of the tumor-restricted expression of the antigens that are being targeted, these personalized cancer immunotherapies offer the promise of high specificity and safety. Conceivably, the boosting of neoantigen-specific T cell reactivity that can be achieved with such personalized immunotherapies will further increase the spectrum of human malignancies that respond to cancer immunotherapy.”
“Our alliances, including with CRADA collaborator NCI and now with NKI, are essential to building and growing our pipeline of promising clinical and preclinical programs,” said Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Based on our progress, there are six ongoing trials under our CRADA with the NCI and we anticipate initiating four pivotal trials of our anti-CD19 CAR product candidate, KTE-C19, in 2015. This momentum is built on strong foundations and relationships.”
About Kite Pharma, Inc.
Kite Pharma, Inc., is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of novel cancer immunotherapy products, with a primary focus on eACT(TM) designed to restore the immune system’s ability to recognize and eradicate tumors. Kite is based in Santa Monica, CA.
Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Kite may, in some cases, use terms such as “predicts,” “believes,” “potential,” “proposed,” “continue,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “may,” “could,” “might,” “will,” “should” or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding Kite’s intentions, beliefs, projections, outlook, analyses or current expectations concerning, among other things: the success and timing of the ongoing and anticipated clinical trials for Kite’s current product candidates, including statements regarding the timing of initiation of the KTE-C19 clinical trials, the ability and willingness of the NCI to continue research and development activities relating to eACT(TM) pursuant to the CRADA; and the ability to expand Kite’s pipeline of TCR-based product candidates through the acquisition of TCF. Various factors may cause differences between Kite’s expectations and actual results as discussed in greater detail under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014. Any forward-looking statements that Kite makes in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. Kite assumes no obligation to update its forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this press release.