SANTA MONICA, Calif. & WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.—Kite Pharma Inc., together with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), has announced the establishment of a partnership to advance the development of KTE-C19, Kite's lead product candidate, for the treatment of patients with refractory aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
Per the terms of the collaboration, LLS will initiate a broad-scope educational program focused on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy for the treatment of blood cancers, as well as support outreach for clinical trial enrollment. In addition, through the Therapy Acceleration Program, LLS will contribute up to $2.5 million to help fund Kite's ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical study of KTE-C19, which is evaluating the treatment's safety and efficacy in patients with refractory diffuse large B cell lymphoma as well as primary mediastinal B cell lymphoma and transformed follicular lymphoma. Based on the program's progress, LLS will receive certain milestone payments from Kite, as well as financial support for the rollout of the educational program.
"Kite is honored by this collaboration with LLS, as it signals their belief that KTE-C19 is a therapy that could positively affect the lives of the many patients diagnosed with blood cancers. I am excited that LLS, through its educational program, will properly inform doctors, patients and the general public of the promising future of precision immunotherapies for cancer," Dr. Arie Belldegrun, FACS, chairman, president and CEO of Kite, said in a press release.
KTE-C19 is an investigational therapy that takes a patient's T cells and genetically modifies them to express a CAR designed to target CD19, a protein expressed on the surface of B cell lymphoma and leukemia cells. Pivotal results from the study of KTE-C19 in diffuse large B cell lymphoma are expected next year, with the launch and commercialization of the treatment potentially taking place in 2017.
"LLS is committed to supporting the development of potentially curative therapies for patients diagnosed with blood cancers, and we view KTE-C19 as a candidate with great potential for patients with lymphoma who have limited treatment options," commented Dr. Louis J. DeGennaro, president and CEO, in a statement regarding the deal. "We are thrilled to partner with a company that has a leading presence in CAR T-cell therapy and a commitment to educate patients."
Kite is also planning to begin three additional trials of KTE-C19, in mantle cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, before the end of this year.
SOURCE: Kite Pharma press release